The art of stam­mer­ing

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Last Sat­ur­day was In­ter­na­tional Stam­mer­ing Aware­ness Day. A day when stam­mer­ing as­so­ci­a­tions, in­di­vid­u­als and groups around the world or­gan­ise events to mark the day and to raise aware­ness of stut­ter­ing. Malta is no dif­fer­ent to the rest of the globe. Stam­mer­ing or stut­ter­ing is a phe­nom­e­non alive in our lit­tle is­land as it is in big coun­tries such as the US and the UK, two of the re­search lead­ers in this field.

The Bri­tish Stam­mer­ing As­so­ci­a­tion says that “talk­ing on stam­mer­ing is how we can all help those af­fected to live a bet­ter life.” Stut­ter­ing has al­ways been an in­spi­ra­tion for bul­lies, be they on the play­ground at school, in of­fices or on the shop floor at a work place. Peo­ple who stam­mer will al­ways find some­one who will ask them to ‘get on with it’ or to ‘spit it out’. Such be­hav­iour puts more pres­sure on them to the point that they will stut­ter even more.

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This is usu­ally fol­lowed by gig­gles or blank faces from peo­ple who don’t have the pa­tience in front of a per­son who stam­mers or who find amus­ing the twitch­ing and con­tort­ing of some­one strug­gling to speak their mind.

But in re­al­ity, those who stut­ter and stam­mer in our so­ci­ety are ac­tu­ally he­roes. They con­stantly live in a mine­field pep­pered with in­di­vid­u­als ready to pop a joke or a gig­gle at their state of af­fairs. They are al­ways pre­pared to take it in their stride, play it down or even make fools out of them­selves just to be ac­cepted in a group of ‘friends’ or by their col­leagues. They bear the pain deep in their heart and bat­tle their mind in an at­tempt to out­smart their con­di­tion and pos­si­bly trig­ger a sen­tence be­fore the stut­ter kicks in. And when they man­age to trick their brain and ut­ter a smooth ‘nor­mal sound­ing’ phrase, they rel­ish and praise them­selves in the si­lence and soli­tude of their heart. Very few of those who make fun of peo­ple who stut­ter know how phys­i­cally con­sum­ing it is for those who stut­ter. The con­stant bat­tle with speech leaves a per­son ti`red and wish­ing to stop talk­ing al­to­gether once and for all. But in­stead, these peo­ple plod on. Some take to pu­bic speak­ing to defy their con­di­tion, and many claim to achieve their goal once they stand in front of a mi­cro­phone or on stage - any­thing to by-pass the stigma that comes with stam­mer­ing.

This is the art of stam­mer­ing. The prepa­ra­tions by those who have to bat­tle the con­di­tion ev­ery minute of the day just to be like the rest of us.

If you hap­pen to face some­one who stut­ters to­day, give him or her a break. They de­serve so­ci­ety’s re­spect for the in­ter­nal or­deal they go through ev­ery­day.

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