Image credit: pbs.org
One in five men and generally less women are affected by stuttering - a debilitating speech impediment that affects so many social transactions. This was an insight shared by speech therapist and the founder of Speakeasy at WITS' Donald Gordan Medical Centre, Dina Lilian during the Weekend Breakfast. She further notes:
There's definitely ways to manage stuttering, throughout childhood and adulthood so that one can have the tools so that stuttering doesn't have to impede one in any aspect of life. There's a perception - especially in adults - that there's nothing that one can do about it or it's too late, but there's definitely help out there in terms of therapy to manage the stuttering and give one the tools in order to speak fluently.
So what can stutterers do to manage the condition? Leon from Johannesburg says that facing his fears through robust pragmatism is what lead to his success:
I started stuttering when I was about 6 or 7, my entire school life was hell, because I was functionally a mute - I just couldn't communicate. My mother went for my first job interview and I got the job. She went with me, I sat outside while she was being interviewed and I got the job, can you believe it! Things like telephones terrified me - if the phone rang, I ran away. I realised eventually to get over this, I would have to confront the things I feared the most, starting with the phone. Every time it rang, I would pick up and say 'bah!' and that's all I'd say and put the phone down. It took quite a while. I also took the bus on my route to work and some bloke came and sat next to me - he was twice my size - and he pointed at his wrist and he said "Wh-wh-wha-tttt-t is the t-t-t-time please?" And I said 'sorry, I'm getting off at the next stop'. I didn't want to get a klap from the guy, in case he thought I was mocking him. When I was stuttering in the 1940's and 50's, there wasn't much therapy around; the only way I could do it was to confront my fears and also by becoming a salesman.
Soundcloud image credit: getthelowdown.co.uk
This article first appeared on 702 : One in five men are affected by stuttering - how to cope with the condition