Hello everybody!! I stopped stuttering over four years ago now, and I become more fluent every year! I’m Prathusha Ravi, age 25, I used to stutter pitifully, but I became a PWSS (a person who stopped stuttering) and, later, a certified speech coach (CSC) at World Stop Stuttering Association, the world’s only community of EX-stutterers.
I’m a south Indian, born and raised in Chennai which is also known as the medical capital of India. I’m a bilingual, I can speak Tamil which is one of the regional languages in India and of course I can speak English. During my childhood, I was this naughty kid who always gets into trouble and gets my mother embarrassed so my mom was always worried about me. After my dad passed away there came much more things to worry about and that’s exactly the same time in which I developed a stutter. My mother was devastated and she felt helpless. She took me to pebbles speech therapy wherein they asked me to read aloud every day and also asked me to do some breathing exercise. To my surprise they even asked me to put pebbles in my mouth and speak and it really felt weird. Nothing seemed to work.
One day at school, my class teacher asked me to read a paragraph from the book in front of the class and that’s when I realized that I was not even able to say one word, I was blocking and stuttering on almost every word I said. That was a nightmare and I couldn’t come to terms with it. As I grew, my stutter only got worse, I couldn’t talk to strangers, especially men I couldn’t even bring myself to look at them as I was so embarrassed about my stutter and more than that I was so scared about what he might think of me? This is definitely not attractive. That’s when I thought that my life was over.
In 2017, I joined a support groups in Facebook to feel accepted. That’s when something amazing happened, I stumbled upon the name Lee Lovett and I also saw that this person has written a book. So I emailed Lee and explained my stuttering problem and asked if he could help me out. I never in my dreams thought that he would reply but HE DID. He also scheduled a skype session soon after. That was the best day of my life and that’s when I realized that miracles do happen.
Coach Lee was very cordial and empathetic!! The interesting part was he’s been through the stuttering problem himself. Who else can I learn from!! He told me his speech journey and how he became a PWSS. He also explained the importance of mind training and also explained the mechanics of the crutches. I was so inspired and truly believed that his methods would definitely work. All these while I was taken to a speech therapist who has studied about stuttering on pen and paper and I don’t believe these speech therapists know how it feels to stutter. But after my first session with Lee I felt so confident and could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to use his Crutches (for example, skipping the first letter or syllable of the next feared word), and presto: No stuttering. My stutter disappeared so fast that it shocked me!
Lee assigned “homework”. For me, this included reading aloud daily, doing several 20-minute sessions of auto suggestions (or talking to yourself positively, which he explains in great detail in his book, and even better in the 3rd Edition of it), and practicing using his 13 Crutches. When I did that, daily, my speech seemed fine. I disciplined myself to use the 1,2,3 punch (1- reading aloud, 2- ASTs x2 daily, 3- using crutches even when I don’t need one) every day and most importantly I was being a speech cop (never allowing myself to stutter which prevented me from creating disfluent memory and it is pinnacle in the process of becoming a PWSS). I was so relieved that I could finally end the chapter of stuttering in my life.
I practiced the crutches a lot especially C-1 helped me a lot with the first feared word and it took a week or so to understand the mechanics of crutches and it took 3-4 weeks to learn the crutches correctly. Soon after that I became a PWSS. I started practicing the crutches in front of strangers, despite having fears and threats I kept using the crutches and I realized that my fear was becoming lesser and lesser with each fluent memory.
Between 2016 and 2018 I was working for a renowned IT firm and at one of the town halls I was able to host an event. I was right up there on the stage with a mike in hand and I was speaking in front of 500+ people. Was I nervous? Of course I was nervous but I kept telling myself that I’m not nervous but excited. This small change in perspective made a huge difference. I would say that it was truly a success of my sincere mind training regimen wherein I was able to reaffirm my positivity by saying I’m excited in spite of feeling nervous. I spoke beautifully with so much confidence and my colleagues gave a standing ovation at the event. I’ll never forget to celebrate these moments.
Now that I’m a certified speech coach, I’m able to stay sharp in using the crutches. During the coaching sessions I also learn from teaching my students and I also get to practice the crutches along with my student.
It is so amazing what WSSA does! I mean it is a complete package where one enters as a PWS and leaves as a PWSS who sees stuttering as a blessing!! And unlike other stuttering support groups, this is the only community in the world that comprises of ex-stutterers and those fast becoming ex-stutterers. It offers blogs, forums, a speech club, and sends tips in regular emails. WSSA has this pool of 1000+ coaching videos where a PWS can learn from. WSSA also has a separate section for parents of the child who stutters where the parent can learn and understand their children’s stuttering problem and they can also take up the course to guide their children and understand the do’s and don’ts which is pinnacle to achieve the child’s fluency. Maybe best of all, WSSA offers PWS a place to hangout and socialize with ex-stutterers and other PWS becoming ex-stutterers. I’m so glad and honored to be a part of WSSA as it truly is a breakthrough in the stuttering world. Please join WSSA today at www.worldstopstuttering.org
Listen to my success story at: https://vimeo.com/513421194/5cddc08092
Prathusha Ravi, India, Early 2017, Updated Feb. 2021