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What is stammer?
Stammering has been a great mystery of the mankind. It is still considered as an “Achilles’ hill” in speech therapy. Many specialists have problems to identify this occurrence.
According to "Polish Popular Encyclopedia", stammer is a disorder, where words and syllables are unintentionally broken, repeated and deformed due to a bad co-movement of the breathing and articulatory muscles. The latest issues of the encyclopedia add another cause of stammering which is an injury of the speech centre, functional changes in central nervous system or nerves disorder. The 2001 edition of "Popular Multimedia Encyclopedia" says that: "Stammering in 85% starts before the age of eight and it gets worse while speaking with strangers. The step taken to cure stammer is phonetic rehabilitation".
In the textbook "Speech Therapy" by T.Gałkowski and G.Jastrzbęska published by University of Opole, the definition of stammering in the chapter dedicated that matter is given as a function of the below:
According to the author there are many definitions of the stammer. Sources inform that close to 1% of adults and 4% of children stammer.
About the book "Stammering" the author writes that it is an excellent source for those, who are preparing themselves to work with stammerers: speech therapy, psychology and pedagogy students; doctors; teachers and to all people who are experiencing the problem of stammering in everyday life.
Many of my patients after having read the above position and any similar ones, lost their hope of leaving their stammer behind them.
When I ask my patients during the first meeting what the stammer is for them, many are scared to pronounce the word.
Some of them gave short answers: stammering is an illness, disability of saying what you want to say and embarrassment. Others were adding that it is a humiliation, unhappiness, being an outlier, excessive sweating, pain in the chest, headache, faint, switching words, a hard work on hiding the problem, shoulder tension, face and hands co-movements, inability of studying and obtaining a job, it is a fear of speaking.
Younger children would say that the stammering is like a bad wizard that makes them "double speak".
Of course all the stammerers will be talking about the problem intuitively and emotionally expecting from the speech therapists exact and right actions.
On the ground of a nine year experience, I can say that stammering can be cured!
It takes a great amount of courage and humbleness to fight with it. It is a hard work that gives wonderful results. So many of those who stammered and nobody was giving them any chances for overcoming the problem, today they speak fluently.
I am a speech therapist-practitioner, because I know that the success is based on practice. When I read or listen that as long as the genesis of the stammer is not known, it is not possible to be cured, then I think to myself, there are so many diseases in the medicine of unknown and undiscovered origin, and doctors still heal their patients, getting many times excellent results.
Among my patients are doctors’ children as well as lecturers of Medical Academies, who fully accept all the conditions of the therapy. In our common happiness of their children, who used to have excessive co-movements while stammering, today, after the course, they speak fluently with no signs of such co-movements.
During the therapy the greatest part of the time I spend on overcoming the fear of speaking. Therefore the psychotherapy and practical checking of the abilities of speaking on the street or in a shop is included. Everybody has to learn to think of themselves as a non-stammerer. That part is very easy for children, but much harder for adults. Therefore some of my fluent speaking patients want to dedicate some extra time after the one year long therapy to help them forget about the painful past.
When talking about the stammering we need to remember, that people stammer in many different ways. There are as many individual and unrepeated ways of stammer as the number of people who stammer.