A few weeks ago we were fortunate enough to interview William Laven, founder of Stammer Stories on our Instagram account. Here are a few things that we learnt about Stamma during this interview...
Did you know that dysfluency, stammering and stuttering are interchangeable terms?
A dysfluent speech is characterised by the disruption of the forward flow and timing of speech by repetition of sounds, syllables or words, sound prolongation and/or blocking on sounds, silent or audible. Over 3 million (5%) of people in the UK currently stammer or at one point had a stammer. Stammering affects four times as many men than women. We do not know why.
Top advices on Stamma learnt during our discussion with William
"Embrace your stamma! It's part of you, it's who you are." When starting a discussion, if you decide to own your stamma straight away, you will most probably feel way more relax. By talking about it, you'll be surprise how much people don't really care, they just accept it.
"The more you'll talk about the more comfortable you'll be. And the more comfortable you are in you're in your stamma, the less likely to stamma." On the contrary, if you're trying to hide it, you will be more likely to think about it more and, as a result, you might end up stammering
In Stuttering: Research and Therapy (1970), Sheehan writes that “stuttering is like an iceberg, with only a small part above the waterline and a much bigger part below.” According to Sheehan, what most people think of as “stamma” is only the visible part of iceberg. But the bulk of the ice is the emotional baggage that comes with it: fear, denial, shame, anxiety, isolation, guilt, and hopelessness. According to Sheehan, as the stutterer resolves these issues, the negative emotions begin to “evaporate”. This in turn causes the “waterline” to lower, until, finally, all that remains is the physical stutter
"Feel free to start again." When in a conversation, It's ok to start your sentence again. Sometimes you get flustered, it happens and it's completely fine. By starting again, you allow yourself to think about what you were going to say. You will then be less likely to stammer when you'll say it.
If you're in a discussion with someone who has a dysfluent speech, you can support them by giving her time to process. By removing the pressure, you'll allow your counterpart to have the time to think and to respond. We're not in a rush, You can try to apply the "10 seconds rule", as explained by Sarah Lyons, Noala Clinical Director, during our Insta Live.
Last, but not least, don't try to be helpful by finishing the other person sentence. What's the rush for an extra 5 seconds? No one is fluent perfectly, we all Stamma in our own way. The person you're talking with might just be really nervous, a shy person or simply have a stamma. As always, be kind as we never know what someone is going through.
Live chat on Instagram between @williamlaven_ from @stammerstories and @2021_sarah_ from @noalaapp about removing the stigma of stamma
If you'd like to dig more into this topic, we highly recommend Stamma website