StopMyStutter is now on YouTube! 📺

stop my stutter youtube

My YouTube Channel STOP MY STUTTER. 🇬🇧

👋Dear Friends, 


If you or someone you know struggles to express themselves verbally because of stutter [stammer] but still seeks for freedom of self-expression without techniques, tricks or magic pills. My Channel is for you.

🗣Last 2 years, many Messages have been coming my way from PWS's of different ages, nationalities, as well as parents whose children stutter. Questions are often very similar, almost identical. So, I decided to Start a Channel to provide my answers to you all.

For one and for all! 💕

Looking forward to e-meeting you all soon! 

Thanks for your support. This project wouldn't be realised without you! 

Million People, one problem!

Thank you for your support! ⭐️🗽

Tagged : / / / / /

I stutter. Carry me in your arms!

acceptance of stuttering in society

"Would it be easier for everyone if society just didn't see stammering as something bad?"

"The cure for stuttering is acceptance. Acceptance from the wider society that people who stutter, are just people who stutter. This is how they speak; this is how they are…."

"It's time for society to accept me for who I really am, a person who stammers"

In this article, I discuss acceptance of stuttering in the wider society.

When I read such comments on how unwelcoming, how discriminative and unfair society is, it saddens me. Because as I a former PWS, I spot the core causes that keep stuttering going from miles away. They stare me right in the face.

There are several issues here: not understanding what stuttering is, not knowing thyself, lack of self-acceptance and respect, comparisons to better fluent speakers, feelings of inferiority. Attempts to hold society responsible for how one feels about themselves. I see exasperation and childish immaturity.

Read about what is stuttering HERE

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Hey, people! Things don't work like that in life. You cannot just come in, stomp afoot, and get what you want! Not now, not ever!

Okay, you stutter. Should non-stutterers now carry you in their arms? Sorry to break this to you, but it will not happen. You will not get any acceptance. Why? You do not deserve it because you fail to accept yourself. You despise yourself. Feel uncomfortable in your skin. Insecure because you stammer. YOU SEE STAMMERING AS A BAD THING. NOT THEM.

All you have learned to do well is demand and take offense. This manipulative immature behavior. Adults do not act like that. Adults take charge of their lives and feelings.

SOCIETY ISN'T OBLIGATED TO ACCEPT YOU

No amount of societal acceptance makes a person happier and their life more satisfying unless they learn to value and accept themselves first.

There is no obligation on the wider society to accept anybody. Political correctness is all there is. Acceptance, on the other hand, is a personal choice of each individual in a given society. Everybody is entitled to their won views and opinions. If they don't physically harm or bully you, it is their right not to accept or love you. Maybe they do not see stuttering as a serious problem. People [society] have their own life to care about. You and your stutter are the least of their concern. They don't sit around expecting to bump into a representative of some "stuttering minority". They just live on. Many are unaware of what stuttering is.

LIFE IS A MIRROR.

Society is a mirror. It reflects your mental attitudes you hold in your mind. There is nothing but a reflection. And, if you live in inner disagreement with who you are, with the way you speak, people treat you accordingly. To charge the reflection, change the image. Your feelings and attitudes to yourself first.

Learn to accept, value, and love yourself. Not when your speech improves, when you pull a girl of your dreams, not when you find a better job, have more money but NOW! UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

Demands of acceptance from society will only lead to further misunderstanding and steer conflict. Making your encounters inadequate reactions, ignorance, rudeness, and intolerance more frequent. People subliminally pick up how you feel and transmit it back to you. No offense, but it starts with you!

SOCIETY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF

Stop being a victim! The quality of your life should not depend on the opinions of other people. Who cares what they think? It's your life and your opinion and attitudes towards yourself matter.

Stop seeking validation of "normality" in the eyes of total strangers. It is almost as if you ask, "Am I respectful? Will you love me? Am I normal?". This is a direct way of being disappointed as the world is indifferent. People are too preoccupied with their hang-ups. Too selfish to care.

They might glance at you for a few fleeting seconds. And then you cease to exist as they dive right back into the world of their own. Whilst you stand there dissecting the situation, waiting for total strangers to grant you permission to feel happy and enjoy life. "Am I good enough? Will you accept me? Please". You are like a beggar. How degrading. Stop holding society responsible for how you feel about yourself. Do you want acceptance? ACCEPT YOURSELF. EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE. BE AT PEACE.

BE YOUR BEST FRIEND

Stutters are good at self-depreciation. Masterful self-lashers! With low self-esteem and zero self-confidence. They are constantly in doubt as they compare themselves with fluent speakers.

Stutterers judge their worth by how well they speak. They need a confidence shoot, the social validation they seek in wider society. You appoint total strangers, call-center operators, hotel clerks, colleagues, and passer-byes, as your "validators".

When people nicely (as PWS's expect), PWS's feel the rush of confidence, the euphoria. They are riding high. But it does not last. When somebody out of ignorance, does not react as PWS expect i.e. hangs up the phone, interrupts, finishes a sentence, etc., PWS's confidence crashes down and evaporates. Self-lashing and feelings of usefulness ensue.

"I am worthless. That guy whispered; he must have been talking about me. I am a second-class citizen." They giggled. Must have been laughing about me. What a laughingstock I am".

A stutterer either becomes bitterly disappointed and shuts the door on the World completely or falls a victim of circumstances. Turns into a doormat for use and abuse. Both positions expose you as a victim.

A junkie who gets high on good opinions of others and suffers when denied. You have no control over your life or your feeling and emotions. Society is in charge of how you feel and live life.

REMEMBER THIS!

You have worth. Intrinsic worth nobody can take away. The kind of worth that does not depend on appearances, gender, complexion, social status, amounts of money on accounts, absence, or presence of speech disfluencies. YOU HAVE WORTH! It cannot be taken away or diminish. ONLY YOU CAN with debilitating mental attitudes and ignorance towards yourself. DON'T BLAME SOCIETY. BECOME YOUR BEST FRIEND!

"Many people are more concerned with their external conditions and neglect the inner attitude of mind. Mental attitude is more important than external conditions"

Dalai Lama. Little Book of Wisdom

TELL YOUR STORY. EDUCATE SOCIETY.

Let be honest. Ignorance exists. Many do not know what stuttering is. Educate people. Become an ambassador. Tell about the challenge you face but without demanding acceptance and love. Help people see stuttering as a valid problem. Most people are naturally empathic and understanding. They will appreciate your sharing knowledge. Praise you for bravery and determination to overcome stuttering.

THE MAGIC MOMENT WHEN SOCIETAL OPINION NO LONGER MATTERS

When you begin to see your strong sides and learn to appreciate yourself, the opinion of others will no longer bother you. Your life becomes so fulfilling and enjoyable, you forget to notice the reactions of others. Total disinterest is what you fell as life takes over. If you viewed society as judgemental and discriminative, you may notice that, is not. People, in the majority, are understanding and compassionate.

Some evil people take pleasure in hurting others on purpose, of course, but I believe these types are few and far between.

I talk from personal empirical experience. It took to fully realize and internalize all the notions above. When I demanded love and appreciation, I received nothing. Life beat me hard. People, even those I was close to, turned backs on me. I did not respect me, and all because I did not respect, dislike myself.

My relationship with society transformed beyond belief only when I stopped begging for acceptance, seeking pity, and seeking validation. People started to seek my company and advice, praise me. All I did was stopped demanding acceptance and approval.

I no longer needed it because I knew who I was and appreciated myself.

LAW OF ATTRACTION IN ACTION.

You want people to be okay with stuttering? – be okay with your stuttering!

You want people to accept you for who you are ? – accept and embrace who you are!

Want love? – love yourself!

Acceptance?– accept yourself!

Respect? – respect yourself!

These are conditions you MUST meet if you want to be accepted and appreciated. If you fail to do that, nothing will change. You will only encounter more ignorance, discrimination, and misunderstanding.

Reading this article is not enough. Internalize what you learned. Live by it.

Do not hold society responsible for how you feel about yourself. Change, evolve and wider society will follow suit. Unless you change, nothing changes.

Acceptance and appreciation will come in abundance. Get ready to be astounded!

Olga Bednarski - the independent stuttering expert

mystutter [at] gmail.com

Is stuttering genetic?

Is stuttering genetic?

The short answer is NO!

Stuttering is thought to have genetic roots which explains why so many people fail to overcome it. "Why try if it cannot loose it, cure it? I was born this way, this way I die!"

Wait! No.

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Contrary to conventional views, stuttering is not hereditary. It cannot be inherited the way physical features are. Shape and eyes color, complexion, bone structure, and so on.

Stuttering is the conditioned [learned] fixed reaction, it is learned. Learned reactions are acquired as we go through the process of socialization. Nobody is born with a stutter.

What you inherit is the anxious disposition, the type of nervous system. It predetermines how intensely you react to various external stimuli. You are probably a very sensitive and emotional person.

Am I right?

For instance, I am a natural worrier and often overreact. I invent problems where there is none. Other people facing an identical situation might not bat an eyelid. I can learn coping strategies but will always remain an extra sensitive person because such is my inherited, genetic nature. The psychological makeup I was born with.

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"Many people are sensitive, but why they don't stutter?".

I anticipated this question.

Having the sensitive nervous system only predisposes you to develop stuttering but does not guarantee you will have it. It largely depends on external factors present within the immediate environment in which you live.

Environmental factors entail a parenting style, social and emotional stress, stigmatizing a child as less intelligent or capable, showing negative attitudes and emotions towards their ability to communicate, drawing attention to speech errors, stuttering parents, and watching their reactions to speaking situations.

Anything that draws and fixates attention firmly on speaking.

It makes you hesitant and fearful of social situations. A simple act of communication turns into performance. Speaking well becomes an obsessive fixation taking over all attentional resources. You can hardly focus on anything else. Only speech matters.

We are all unique. Other sensitives might not develop stuttering, but they are just as at risk. In fact, they might, and probably will develop other mental other psycho-emotional disorders and fixations such as hair pulling, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, body dysmorphia, skin picking, bruxism, and a wide array of other mental health-related conditions.

I hope you understand these conditions are not inherited. Imagine an infant with a body dysmorphia? Nonsense!

Passed in genes is ONLY the predisposition to developing psycho-emotional conditions. Stuttering is one of them.

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Look at your parents. What are they like? How do they react to events? Especially, trivial events? Do they overact?

Many PWS's I had an immense joy to speak to whilst working on this project share explicit details on their life with parents and parenting styles used. The informants noted the volatile nature of their parent's temperaments, high sensitively and anxiety, fearfulness, and a tendency for exaggerating and catastrophizing events.

Stuttering is not a congenital conditional and is NOT PASSED DOWN in genes.

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Stuttering is not congenital. This is a conditional learned reaction and it is reversible. Read what is stuttering here.

I stuttered for over 15 years. By the age of 30, I was totally stuttering free. Freedom entails the absence of obsessive thoughts, mental rehearsals before situations, blocking, choosing words, avoiding sounds, or/and situations.

Speech just happens without conscious attempts to control or monitor it in any way. During the research, I learned I was not alone. There were many former PWS's that eliminated stuttering too. They too were told stuttering was congenital and yet "magically" recovered. These people helped expand my understanding of stuttering even further.

You can achieve this freedom too and become the person you really DREAM TO BECOME!

What this article helpful to you? Please leave a comment.

Olga Bednarski - independent stuttering expert

My message to PWS’s on the journey to freedom.

freedom from stuttering achievable
Olga feels the fear and does it anyway.

Hello and thank you for visiting. I hope my blog is for you.

My name is Olga, a former stutterer (PWS) turned an independent researcher. I devoted 7 years of my life to defining and understanding stuttering.

I am a Speech & Language therapist, and thank God. Thanks to this, I have a clearer view on the problem. Unobstructed by past theories and classic notions formulated 30 years ago. I went on to develop the unique outlook on stammering and found the key to eliminating. For good!

I was unsatisfied with the progress I made on speech therapy. The approach did make my stuttering less prominent, but my speech sounded unnatural and stilted. No matter how thoroughly I followed the technique; my mind was still riddled with anxiety. I blocked frequently. Even in desensitized situations, where people knew I stuttered.

The technique did not just control my stutter, it controlled me. It blocked my personality, preventing me from expressing myself the way I wanted. Constantly policing my breathing, body language, word choice, etc. I felt locked inside a tiny room. It was hard to breathe.

No technique would give me that unconditional freedom. Limitless self-expression. I realized that techniques only mask the problem. Drive stuttering deeper into the psyche but do not solve it. It is self-deceit.

So, I left all control tools behind and embarked on the journey. Solo. I was told that if I drop control my stuttering would return in no time, and I'd be back in «the stuttering hell». But speech only got better and better.

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Stuttering

I stuttered for 15 years. Since 13. The sudden disfluency came as a shock to me and my family. I had never had speech problems nor shown signs of hesitation. As a child, I was a vivacious and beautifully fluent. My parents were perfectly fluent, so were my grandparents. No history of anyone stammering in my family.

All changed when I entered puberty. I became acutely receptive and sensitive to everything that was going on around me. Hesitation gradually turned into speech interruptions. Mild, at first. Then occasional blocking occurred. Become more frequent, until one day I froze unable to utter a sound.

My classmates laughed, and I felt humiliated. My educators laughed too. They did not know what stammering was and thought I was just pulling their leg.

From this point on, I began to fear of speaking. To save myself from further public ridicule, I devised a set of tricks, excuses, and false - behaviors. Anything from pretending I was mute to pulling sickies. Anything just to avoid social interactions.

Over the years, tricks morphed into what was now my fake personality. The authentic me has been pushed aside and clouded over. Almost invisible. Only an undistinguishable shadow of it remained.

I was a fake. My life was fake.

What I discovered surpassed all expectations.

Not only did I restore the beautiful fluency I enjoyed as a child, but I found something more important. Hidden within laid a chest of priceless treasures. The determination of steel, intelligence, empathy, ability to see ordinary things in new lights. The abilities and potential, I never knew I possessed. And, how could I notice my strengths? If all I did was lashing and comparing myself to "better" others. Feeling undeserving and inferior.

I was blind-folded. Living in complete darkness of false beliefs and lies said about me by other people which I gullibly believed.

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I transformed beyond recognition. Masks were removed, vision cleared. Reunited with the real me, I shone. Floated on air. Happy!

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The brave souls: Empirical field research

Over the years, I have met 283 people who stutter. I analyzed their accounts, interviewed, and observed them.

This blog draws on real accounts, empirical findings, and my extensive personal experience. It will help you understand your psychology, the algorithm of stuttering, identify your version of the problem, and finally find the most effective ways of dissolving blocks.

Without control. Medication. In practice.

If that is what you seek, and:

  • You had failed attempts at therapy and/or not happy with the outcome
  • Don't agree stuttering is a sentence or a disability
  • Wish to restore natural fluency without the use of control or tricks
  • Ready to consider unconventional views and approach
  • Know you can fully recover but do not know HOW

This is not a new theory. The time of theorizing is over. Everything you learn from my blog is based on extensive empirical experience.

If you know you can recover fully, but do not know exactly how this blog is for you?

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My blog is NOT FOR YOU if:

  • You adhere to conventional views on stuttering.
  • Believe stuttering is a disability or an incurable disease.
  • Believe you cannot loose stuttering, only control it
  • Blame society for your misfortune i.e. parents etc.
  • Comfortable with your stuttering, and do not wish to change a thing.

Olga Bednarski

The Independent stuttering expert, researcher, and a language tutor.

(BA) Hons 2014, Mres (Social Research) 2017.

www.stopmystutter.com

Your child stutters. The best thing you can do.

Loving your children for who they are.

I often receive messages from parents. Their children stutter. Age from 2-6.

Typical situation: repetitions, sound prolongations, reluctance to talk, hesitations, blocking, pointing to things instead of asking for them.

"My daughter started stuttering on certain words. She is 2.5 years old. She never had this before. Is this serious? Shall we go to the doctor's? How to make it stop?"

"My daughter is 6. Had been stuttering from 3. We went to SLT who recommended traditional therapy. We did as advised but stuttering still remains. My heart is bleeding looking at this…"

"My child started stuttering. I am terrified! I feel like crying thinking about my son's future…"

"My son is 3 years old, suddenly developed a stutter. He was fluent before. We are shocked. Clueless as to why it happened or how to help it"

I want to shout out – PLEASE DON'T PANIC! Do not dramatize. Do not catastrophize. Overreacting will not help the problem, but it can exacerbate it. You will not even notice how!

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Parental attitude is critical is the firsts years of a child's life. Children see the world and themselves through the eyes of their parents. Mothers, especially. Whenever she shines and directs her attention, that is what her child sees. However, she reacts, that is how the child reacts.

Parental reactions and emotional state transmit to children. Children are sensitive and receptive. They receive all information indiscriminately. There are no filters of neither logic nor intricate analysis. Everything sent their way is taken literally.

Emotions rules their brain. Emotions are the language of the unconscious. For this very reason, adults can still recall in detail injuries caused to them in childhood or puberty. The emotional change and images of what had happened become imprinted on the memory. And, stay there for life.

A 63-year-old male bitterly recalls, "My younger brother was given a wooden pistol. He was too young to know what it was. But I have been pushed aside and said the toy was not mean from me. Threatened with threatened if I try to take it away ……I was hurt, I still feel hurt…". The situation happened 58 years ago. The intense emotional experience coupled with the burning feeling of unfairness has fixed the incident on the man's memory forever.

Emotions are the language of the unconscious. The language of the soul. Everything that experiences – good or bad - gets stored in the subconscious mind impacting our life. Watch your reactions! You will forget. To you, it is silly nonsense. Your children will remember.

Children interpret the world and themselves in this world through the prism of parental attitudes.

That is if you dramatize events (any events), make a mountain out of a molehill. You can be certain your children will react in precisely in the same way.

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Parental approach and attitudes towards stuttering become part of the children's Belief system.

The belief system entails guiding principles, an unwritten rule that spells what is right and what is wrong. All people's behavior is guided by unique Belief Systems. The guiding is totally unconscious and is unquestionable. We do certain things because we were taught (shown) that this is the only way of doing it. The only right way.

Having been severely reprimanded for stumbling on words, we see stumbling as an undesirable thing to do. So, we begin to hesitate and withdraw. Soon we experience blocks and stumble even more watching displeasure on our parents' faces.

"I reprimanded my girl and said, "speak normally!". Now she stutters, she stops talking and covers her mouth, points to things…."

Do you see what I mean?

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Projecting the positive and supportive image is a must. Panicking and pleading will not ease the problem, but it will make it worse. Your child watches you getting hysterical. You drag them from one doctor to another: speech therapist, neurologist, psychologists, cardiologists, immunologist, psychopathologist. The fact that all this is for their benefit is beyond children's' understanding. Such overactivity scares them. It creates stress and anxiety.

I am the reason my Mum is upset. Something must wrong with me. I am no good. I must be bad. All other kids are normal, their Mums seems happy and me….:( They compare themselves.

This is where low self-esteem comes from. Not knowing your self-worth. "I am unworthy of my Mum's love until I learn to speak well".

People have worth regardless of how they talk and that is what you, as a carrying parent, should promote.

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Overreacting exacerbates the problem. As an adult, you might feel that you are helping your child to recover. You care and do not want the problem to go out of hand. The reality is – you built the foundation for stuttering. It takes root.

Balance is the key. I do not advise you just passively sit there. But not go over the board. Maintain balance. Stay rational.

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One more thing.

Energy flows, where attention goes. What you focus on expands.

Excessive worrying fixates your child's attention to speech. Speech is a natural, spontaneous process. It does not require control. Conscious controlling of natural processes interrupts their flow and creates difficulties.

What would happen if you intentionally put a stick into spokes of your bicycle wheel? You would surely collapse. You cannot continue riding like that.

Speech stumbles. Confidence falls below zero. Anxiety bogs the mind. And so it continues, until one freeze. Brutal block!

Do you want your child to experience this?

Energy flows, where attention goes. What you focus on expands.

Speech. Stumbles. Repetitions. Blocks. Speech.

If only I could say that fluently. If only I would not block.

This turns into obsession. You block – the day is ruined! A child's world is permeated with "the artificial tragedy". Blown out of all proportion. Speech is now associated with negativity and it instills worry.

I'd better be quiet. Too risky. What if I am punished? What if I disappoint my Mum? Hesitant to speak. Approach – avoidance. I want to say it, but I won't.

I'd better be quiet.

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How to help your child and not exacerbate stuttering?

Stuttering is not deliberate. Children are not lazy to speak. They genuinely cannot.

  • Do not draw attention to the speech, divert from it.
  • Do not point out errors. Treat disfluencies as if nothing happened.
  • Let your child finish their sentences. Don't interrupt.
  • Listen patiently. Do not speak FOR your child.
  • Do not overdo on doctors.
  • Ask relatives to stop making comments about the "vocal inadequacy"/incompetence of your child.

WARNING!

!!! If your child experiences seizures, epilepsy, I strongly suggest you seek medical advice from a neurologist. Stuttering might be a superficial symptom of a more serious medical issue. DO NOT DELAY!

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Do you know what excessive worrying is?

Your fear. Don't pass your fears onto your children. Panicking and catastrophizing you will do more harm than good.

Don't forget that at such a young age stuttering can and often is a passing event. It is a temporary development problem that will go on its own withing interventions.

Here is the statistics:

"Between 75-80% of all children who begin stuttering will stop within 12 to 24 months without speech therapy. If your child has been stuttering longer than 6 months, they may be less likely to outgrow it on their own."

The correct parental response is the key to the elimination of stuttering.

Play your cards right. Common sense is your ally when it comes to helping your child normalize their speaking pattern. In not letting stuttering take root and be carried into adulthood and making them calmer and more confident in themselves in the long term.

Observe, monitor but don't jump to hasty conclusions but don't push it.

You child stutters. The best thing you can do is to love them for who they are. Regardless of whether they stammer or not.

Live fluently and stay safe,

Olga Bednarski

Independent stuttering expert

Public speaking: Every stutterer’s dream and nightmare.

Speaking in public was not as scary as I imagined. + My short speech video “before” and “today”.

Me aged 18. I learned to put on a brave face even thought I physically shook before and during every trivial social interaction, be it buying a ticket, asking for directions, making or receiving phone calls, speaking in class, saying my name etc.

Since adolescence, speaking in public (or in fact, in any situation where I could be overheard) was nerve-wracking and often humiliating experience. Suffering from silent blocks meant I was simply unable to utter any sound, when, for example, I was asked to read out loud in class. Even today, although a fully accomplished adult, I still shiver recalling past “speaking incidents” and the avalanche of cortisol-fuelled emotions overwhelming me, my mind going completely blank every time my name had been called out to present. It felt like a public execution!

And, of course, those tormenting “aftermaths” as I re-played and re-lived the situations in my head many times over.

Every person who has ever stuttered is too familiar with such moments. We all know how it feels. There were moments I wanted to scream, but felt gagged by unexplainable speaking difficulties, my sudden muteness and anxiety that held me captive from around the age of 13.

My failing confidence endured countless destructive blows during the adolescence forcing me to play an unfortunate role of a detached, tongue-tied, not very bright and socially clumsy young person. The person I never really was. This was my way to escape, my safety mechanism. It was easy at the time to just resign, blame the whole world and people from their callousness and lack of understanding as to what I, as a person with situational stutter, have been going through. It was easy to just withdraw, turn meek and invisible.

Invisible to the whole big wide world out there and simply watch life passing me by.

Some say keeping quite is the best option for stutterers as at least you avoid being humiliated and ridiculed. Even speech therapist sometime advice – “stay away from conflict situations at all costs, keep you head down, do what you are told, be nice and pleasant towards people” (read Ivan’s story HERE)….

All this just to avoid “being found out“??

London, 2005. At Madame’s Tussaud Museum. Me taking the central stage, kind of trying in on :). I was nervous and very tense even as I posed for this photo amongst the mannequins of the world’s leaders. Could I be one of them one day? Could I speak my mind without fear? It was hard to envisage…

So, yes! Shutting myself down, turning away from life seemed like the only “safe” option, and it was easy. Easy to just give up, and then envy others enjoying their lives.

“Bastards! Fluent bastards! They don’t know nothing of my stifled, muffled suffering. How dare they ???”

But what to do if you have so much to say, what do to do with all the feelings that you want to express so much you can hardly contain yourself? I reached the pivotal point at 26, finally resolving to do anything to overcome my fears and claim back the control over my life. By hook or by crook.

Somehow I sensed there would be countless occasions for me to deliver speeches on various topics so MY VOICE was the instrument I absolutely must restore to be heard. And, soon it followed: university presentations, Speakers’ Club talks, Toastmasters, work presentations, job interviews, promotional talks, facilitations of workshops for fluent speakers etc.

One cannot live by avoiding life. Communication is the major part of our interaction with the external world, and if speaking was unavoidable, I decided, I might as well learn to do it well. This was the attitude with which I started my “zero to hero” journey from someone who could hardly say her own name, to the person who was no longer afraid of being in the sport light, speaking, enjoying herself, having fun speaking.

Speaking in public is not scary, our attitudes to it make it so.

Since I resolved to eliminate my stuttering and stepped on the journey of self-development, I have been a member of two speaking club for 7 years in total and run my own workshops for (!) fluent speakers. The experience of delivering speeches as well as watching other speakers, seasoned and not so much, delivering theirs taught me a great deal. It wasn’t all just about poise and eloquence…..it was about facing my biggest monster, irrational fears and insecurities, and watching others facing and conquering theirs.

At the Toastmasters Warrington. Making an idiot of myself and admitting “publicly” I had a stutter felt so liberating. And, you know what? They didn’t laugh, they were mesmerised.

My vast empirical experience speaks louder than any theorising or speculations. Here is the summary of the quite surprising things I learned whilst on my journey.

Being fluent doesn’t automatically equate to possessing confidence nor warrants absence of anxiety/fear. Fluent speakers can be, and often are just as nervous, tongue-tied and self-conscious as PWS’s.

I was a regular member of the two speaking clubs (Liverpool Speakers Club and Warrington Toastmasters) and led workshops on public speaking for fluent, very anxious speakers. I have seen it all when it comes to public speaking done by fluent speakers: awkwardness, timidity, lack of confidence, quietness, hesitation, loosing thoughts halfway thru a speech, speech errors, filler words, even occasional disfluencies, although they simply call it “bobulations” [i.e. state of confusion].

Here are the couple of my most memorable real-live examples.

I met this experienced speaker, a professional man in his 50’s. He was about to compete in a speaking competition and anxiously awaited for his turn. So, he went to the bar for “only one drink” to ease his nerves. He was visibly trembling. One drink, then another, third…slowly he got tipsy, then drunk. He admitted he was too nervous to speak, even though he was an experienced (a very experience, I presume) speaker. Sadly, he was sent home and didn’t complete. What a Faux pas!

Here is another one, are you ready?

A youth at this army recruitment event was asked to introduce himself in front of the group of other recruits. Watching him was simply, well, hilarious as he performed rather bizarre arm movements whilst trying to tell his story. He wasn’t recruited, of course!. Oops!

Both fluent speakers, and both freaked out and were too unable to talk.

Now a question? Does being fluent warrant never being embarrassed whilst speaking, interacting with others? NO! NO! NO!

Perfection is a myth. Nobody is always 100% confident, eloquent, quick-witted etc. It is merely impossible to maintain that high energy, that bravado for too long!

In fact, disfluencies happens with us all fluent or not. The important thing is how we react to it – you either punish and bully yourself for days for using filler words, pausing, stumbling, looking away etc….obsessive about it, or see a situation as “no big deal” and just forget, forgive and move on.

This makes huge difference in how you will eventually perceive yourself and speaking situations in future. You see, fluent speakers are more forgiving of themselves whereas stutters “lash” themselves over any minor imperfection. Fluent speakers just laugh it off – “oh, well. I will do better next time”. Stutters catastrophe their disfluencies.

I urge you to remember this!

Receiving my trophy for the best Speech of the evening @ Speakers Club, Liverpool. Year 2016

We are all PEOPLE with our feelings, fears, phobias, insecurities, something we wish to hide or improve on. Just because some of us don’t stutter, doesn’t mean there is total unshakable 100% confidence every time and in every situation.

Now try this! Turn your attention away from the inner dialog and feelings over to what goes on in the external world, and believe me, you will soon notice how flustered and nervous people around you can be, just observe and you are no different from others.

Here is the video I wanted to show you. It shows me struggling to speak back in 2010, and my speaking today. See it for yourself.

This video shows the progress I made with my stutter over the years. My speech in 2010 and today, 5 years as I abandoned all types of control tool. I highlight the benefits of joining speaking platforms in your city.

What do I think of public or any type of speaking today? To be honest, I no longer think about it, speaking just happens, as naturally as it was always measnt to. Speech is a river, speech is like breathing to me.

I wish I could say, that now when my speech preoccupations are over, I have no problems to worry about, but that would be a lie. Sometime I ask myself why do I create so much unnecessary, purely imaginary worries for myself, why do I create them in my mind?

Guys, I often worry when there is nothing to worry about, do I have a new problem now? 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the article and I am grateful for you support,

Much love, light and effortless fluency,

Olga

Understanding is the key: What is stuttering?

what is stuttering with olga
Understanding is the key.

One of the great challenges in this world is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Understanding is the key. What is stuttering?

Stuttering is not a sentence. You simply looked for the answers in the wrong places.

There are many theories and misconceptions about stuttering, autism, asymmetry of brain hemispheres, underdeveloped articulators, a form of schizophrenia, even the result of gender discrimination. More theories are formulated as you read this article.

Filling minds with nonsense, the speculators, as if on purpose, divert attention away from the genuine causes of stuttering. Trusting them, believing in them leads to a tremendous loss of time and effort on trying to correct something that does not require a correction. Fluent speech.

As we work on straightening stuttered speech (i.e. an external symptom), we overlook the prime cause of stuttering. The total inner misalignment of our thoughts, feelings, perceptions of the world, and our place in this World.

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The sheer amount of speculations on stammering indicates only one thing; doctors do not know what stuttering is.

Clueless as to what they are up against. This is because their "understanding" is based on obsolete theories and guesswork. PWS's that put their trust in traditional approaches are misled too. Following "the qualified advice" PWS's invest in one method (i.e. classic therapy) after another (i.e. medications, devices, hypnosis). But fail to achieve a desired level of fluency and end up drifting. Doomed to never find an adequate solution.

Finally, PWS's see how pointless all the efforts have been. Bitterly disappointed, desperate, and impatient, they withdraw into the World of their own.

The infliction stays. Unresolved. Like an ulcer, it is invisible but just as painful. Life does not get any easier.

You cannot live by avoiding life. Sooner and later, you stick your nose out. Curious. Anything new? You still wish to have a life that you want.

The main question still demands the answer.

WHAT IS STUTTERING?

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The Answer.

According to my approach, stuttering is a conditioned psycho-emotional disorder [in the form of a conditioned fixed reaction]. The way of perceiving reality, the attitude towards the World and yourself in this World. The Mentality. The Mindset.

This mindset is made up of masses of psychological fixations and models of behavior. One by one, following in a sequence they form a process line. The fire out and, we block and stutter.

Like in a shotgun. Guns do not fire out of the blue. A careful process of preparation precedes the shooting. You pull the gun out the sleeve – take bullets – open the magazine – charge – aim – pull the trigger – ONLY NOW YOU SHOOT.

An uncharged shotgun will not fire. You must prepare the gun for a shoot.

Blocks, facial spasms, tricks, avoidance strategies, obsessive thoughts, rehearsals – all these are part of the shooting.

The result of the preparations that took place BEFORE you enter a speaking situation. Whether you do this consciously or unconsciously, does not make any difference. Your pistol is charged (the brain fired up) – point-blank shot (you block)!

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Stuttering is not a physical disorder. Disfluency is only an external manifestation of the internal psycho-emotional dissonance.

To eliminate stuttering permanently, correcting stuttered speech won’t be enough.

All known methods and techniques only mask the problem. The initial euphoria and confidence you get after the course evaporate fast. You wake up in your bed, recall speaking encounters you are to have today, and dread grips you once again.

Desperately, you begin to grab tricks and techniques. Fight, resist, work on your speech. You fight fire with fire. But when your name is called out inviting you to speak – YOU FREEZE. As if paralyzed. Sounds stuck in your throat. Relapse. Fighting fire with fire only creates more fire!

Game over.

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Aren't you tired of wasting time on ineffective methods?

To stop relapsing, we must deal with the inner cause of stuttering. Restore the imbalance and re-establish harmony.

You will have to look closer and find out what exactly DO YOU DO (this will be unique for each PWS) to create disfluency. How you charge the pistol and when you pull the trigger.

Time to wake up from the zombie-trance. Bring all the unconscious programs, insecurities, limiting models of behavior, and beliefs into consciousness. Begin to see what goes on. Look the problem in the face (which is not always pleasant) and then hack the chain setting yourself free.

Stuttering is not a sentence. Do not want to suffer – stop suffering! But work must be done (no, not on your speech).

There is no magic pill. The transformation will not happen overnight. It all depends on the severity of your stuttering, how badly you do want to change as well as other variables.

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I do not have a bucket list of exercises that magically "cure" stuttering. My approach will help understand and pin down a UNIQUE VERSION of YOUR stuttering. Make you see how you create stuttering blocks. How you fire your gun. In turn, this will turbo-charge every subsequent step you take towards dissolving stuttering. No longer will you be shooting a cannon at sparrows.

The unconscious mind and your brain will have no other choice but to push out stuttering out of your psyche and your life for good.

Did this article help you to become clearer on what stuttering is? Your feedback motivates me to write.

Olga Bednarski

The independent stuttering expert

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www.stopmystutter.com

My story: from hopelessness and isolation to the unconditional freedom (Part 2).

Beneath the debris of complexity lays the answer. Are you ready to leave the prison?

My ascend began at 26.

Out of despair and not knowing where to turn, I went to the local speaker’s club (see Liverpool Speakers Club). The most unlikely place a person who stutters would go to, and yet I was there. Here, I met people from a well-known speech therapy course, and they advised I try it. Having never been on speech therapy, I signed up.

My life was divided into “before” and “after”.

The course pulled me out of depression. I felt like I left the prison. But the novelty effect and initial euphoria wore off. Now my “freedom” was conditional upon following all the instructions and using control tools. I soon realised that I did not want any forms of control.

And, how would you prefer to speak? Constantly controlling and thinking about your speech or effortlessly and without thinking about it?

Unconditional, uncontrolled freedom was what I wanted. Full stop.

But how? This I didn’t yet know.

All I knew was that the less control I used, the better my speech got. Despite being warned that my fluency wouldn’t hold up for long without control, it was getting stronger every day.

I stayed on the speech therapy. I liked the social element of it, and I think this experience was essential for me to gain greater insight into the problem.

Watching, hearing and discussing experiences of others, I was getting intrigued to find out how does stammering work.

  • Why people still stutter whilst presenting in front of a familiar audience?
  • Why fluency fluctuates?
  • Why people don’t stutter when talking to children or animals?
  • Why stammering sometimes appears in adults (after the age of 20)?
  • Why we stutter whilst speaking to people in authority?
  • Why people stutter less or more when drunk?
  • Why people don’t stutter when on their own?
  • What genetics have to do with stammering?
  • Why feeling confidence makes us more fluent?

I noticed that my stammering followed a certain pattern. At times, I used techniques and still struggled. Other times, I did not and yet spoke fluently. I was intrigued and began making observations. Who would have thought that what started as a personal experiment, went on to become full-scale independent investigation involving over 200 people?

Research into stuttering.

Over last 7 years, I reviewed countless academic journals, experimented, made and recorded hundreds of observations, read multiple books (incl. John Harrison), conducted and participated in over 70 conversations, and analysed personal accounts of PWS’s all over the world with the main contributors being Russia and the UK.

What was eventually uncovered surpassed all my expectations. I wasn’t ready for that. It was a revelation. The new paradigm with the potential to change the way stammering is perceived and addressed.

From all the data collected it transpired that stammering follows and is driven by one single algorithm in 98% of cases [***there were some exclusions]. Circumstances surrounding the onset of stammering greatly vary. The mechanism that triggers and maintains stammering remains the same across all cases.

All earlier theories, perceptions and speculations seemed to have been magically reduced to one common denominator.

I intend to speak for us all. Be the voice of all of you that were directly or indirectly involved in making this reality.

I am not a Speech therapist but am an extremely inquisitive independent researcher. I believe, this circumstance allowed me to look at the speech impediment from an unconventional angle. Bypassing all the complexity, I simplified the problem and arrived at the solution.

Of course, it will not work for all as nobody can change you unless you are willing and ready to be changed.

Who is my blog for?

My knowledge will benefit:

  • Open-minded people that know there is more to stammering than what is already known.
  • Certain that stammering is not a disease.
  • Believe unconditional freedom from stammering is achievable.
  • Ready to take responsibility for their speech and life.
  • Ready to leave earlier theories behind and built the new foundation.
  • Unhappy with their current situation and are genuinely motivated to change.

Don’t waste your time reading my blog if you:

  • Adhere to «conventional» views on the problem.
  • Believe in “the magic pill”
  • Believe that stammering cannot be overcome.
  • Quick to blame external circumstances (i.e. the society, parents etc) for their “misfortune” and capriciously demand acceptance.
  • Comfortable with your current position and don’t want to change a thing.

I strongly believe that the conceptually new outlook is what urgently needed if we are to ever solve the puzzle and eliminate stammering for good. FOR ALL!

Enough theorising, it is time to show you what you can achieve!

P.S. If you can relate to my story and would like to learn more about my findings, please leave a comment and follow my blog so as not to miss future posts.

**Please note I don’t endorse any courses or therapies.

***Psychogenic cases of stammering were excluded from the study.

From hopelessness and isolation to unconditional freedom. My story [part 1].

Many theories, much research. Will we ever find the cure to stuttering?

What is stammering? What causes it? Can stuttering be overcome?

Over the last 30 years, the myriad of theories and speculations formed the enormous body of information about stammering. Pick and choose your own, depends on whatever you have heard before.

According to some of them, stammering is Tourette syndrome (TS), the form of palsy, a dysfunctional speaking apparatus, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TJS),disarray between the hemispheres of the brain, the physical fault in the brain, birth trauma, dog fright, form of schizophrenia (Gosh!) etc.

All these years. All this research. All this pompous theorizing. Yet, they are just as stuck. Nowhere near the solution. There isn’t even the common definition of what stammering is.

And, the bottom line is always the same – STAMMERING CANNOT BE OVERCOME! The advice is hardly reassuring – embrace it, fight it, control it and learn to live with it.

Blindfolded with the impenetrable veil of [useless] theories we become restricted to seeing stammering from only one [popularised] perspective – as an incurable disease. It is inconceivable to envisage even the remote possibility of ever achieving freedom [where no devices, no magic pills and no control are used].

Do as the doctors say.

After all, these are the authoritative figures, neuroscientists, professors, who formulate and propagate those “despairing” theories. How can we, hapless PWS’s, dare to doubt? Our role is to passively hope and wait for yet another idea (i.e. a clever app, a magic pill or device etc.) to come along and save us. Or better still, do our speaking for us so we don’t have to.

Believe what doctors tell you to believe. And, don’t forget to stutter.

Or….?

My experience, as well as the experience of those who have shown significant improvement [or recovered], proves that stammering CAN be eliminated.
Dissolved. Permanently. No magic pills required.

I don’t mean to undervalue your scientific credentials. Own them, they are yours. But, let’s admit theorizing creates more complexity than clarity leading us further and further away from the ultimate solution.

And, the solution? Well, the solution lays beyond the complexity constructed by your mind. It is right here, only you are too blind to notice. You are too busy complicating and pontificating.

I intend to establish a common ground and provide clarity by sharing my compelling story of recovery.  From fluency to stammering. From stammering to freedom of speech, thought and life.

I never stuttered in my childhood. Having learned to speak at the age of 3, I was beautifully fluent. There was no history of speech impediments in our family.

It all changed when I entered puberty.

I can still recall my first “stammering seizure“. My girlfriends asked me to call from a public phonebooth (there were no mobile phones back then). As my friends watched and listened in, I anxiously dialled the number.

My heart pounded as I awaited the response – «Yes?» – the person on the other end responded. I froze. Words stuck in my throat. My mind blank. Somehow I regained my senses and uttered – “Hello, I am calling to enquire about…”. The conversation was over in less than a minute.

The thoughts of embarrassment and confusion haunted me for days. 

What the hell came over me?”.

I hoped it wouldn’t happen again. But stammering seizures repeated. My academic performance took a nosedive. Speaking and reading our loud in class was suddenly beyond my abilities.

Refusing to speak in class, I soon earned the reputation of being dumb.

My timid attempts to explain the situation were met with sarcasm and brushed off. My educators were adamant as they thought “I was faking it to get a good mark without doing any work”.

The fact that my stutter was situational worked against me. Nobody believed me.

Not even the speech therapist. In her office, with my Mum by my side my speech flowed like a River (see Ruth Mead’s book «Speech is a River”).

Now, I was also a liar.

This was my only visit to the doctors. No further attempts at “fixing” my speech were made.

My stammer was disregarded as the teenage thing and never discussed since. We silently hoped the problem would pass on its own. Just as it came.

It never did. The school ended. I entered adulthood, hardly knowing who I was. My stutter took root and flourished. Declaring total control over my life.

At the age of 20, I moved to the UK. Alone.

Here, with no family close by and zero financial support, I aimlessly drifted from one dead-end job onto another to fulfil my most immediate physiological needs (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).

I was always too embarrassed to talk about my stammer. I did not even admit to myself I had it. I thought I was “crazily shy”. “Who wants to know, anyway?” – I thought.

So, I made every attempt to hide it which made me look and act awkwardly.  Some people even thought I was aggressive. It was the anxiety of course. That sense of agitation and urgency we all experience.

Too quiet, I did not fit in with work teams. This made me an easy target for predatory behaviour. A “stupid foreigner weirdo” I was given no slack. Being pushed around, bullied and victimized was my “normality”. I was even refused the employment contract once to which I was legally entitled but was too scared to demand.

Yes, I too was dismissed once. And deservedly so. My “communication skills were inadequate” – they said.

I sunk into depression digging myself deeper into the hole.

My life became intolerable. I wanted to scream but could hardly speak. The painful, meaningless existence. I felt as though I lived the life of someone else.

I knew I had to do something. Anything, or else my life would be over.

Part 2 coming soon…

Image by Tomasz Alen Kopera