My name is Shubham. I am from Mumbai, India. I am 24 years old. I completed my graduation in E&TC Engineering. I remember my childhood when I was around 5 years old I was mostly fluent and spoke spontaneously. As a kid I was shy and sensitive. But when I turned six years old I remember sometimes I had minor issues while speaking, I used to mumble on words sometimes while speaking & I used to mispronounce some of them. First my parents noticed this then after that they always used to tell me to speak clearly and pronounce words properly. I started to believe that my speech was defective and I wanted to do something to make my articulation better so, I became more and more conscious of my speech flaws. I refrained from speaking more and spoke only when needed and didn’t open up much to anyone. I used to hold back and hesitate to speak with anyone, especially with strangers and people who were elder to me.
An unpleasant shift happened in my childhood when I was in 3rd grade. When all my friends in my colony had shifted to a different city and for the major part of my childhood I was alone without much of a social life and I hardly communicated with anyone except my family. Also during that time I had to change my school as there were many instances of bullying and fighting with the seniors in which I used to get anguished and traumatized. I was deeply hurt and wanted to change my school. My parents did my admission in another school after that. But this change to a completely new environment filled me with anxiety and nervousness and I already had developed an inferiority complex about my speech and personality. I feared speaking with my new teachers and classmates. Then I started to have difficulty while speaking even in normal situations. I started experiencing blocks in my speech out of nowhere. The blocks used to come and go situationally. But soon they became frequent. My speech gradually turned to a full blown stuttering problem. I remember that the most daunting task was to read a passage in front of the whole class. I used to feel embarrassed and somehow hoped that the teacher didn’t point at me and ask me to speak. When the teacher used to take the attendance in class I used to get so scared and it was a nightmare for me. Because of my abnormal speech and facial grimaces while stuttering. My speech was often made fun of whenever I stuttered badly.
So I got into a habit of avoidance which made the problems even worse. When I was in 6th grade I decided to do something about my speech and now I have to overcome this problem. So I went to a speech therapist with my father. I joined the therapy sessions. The therapist gave me slow prolongation & reading exercises. I practiced it but it didn’t help me to reduce my stuttering. Instead of that I got more anxious and thought about stutter fears even more. My speech sounded unnatural.
After I finished my school my stuttering problem became a roadblock in my life. I had to compromise on many opportunities and I was not able to do what I wanted. My inferiority complex grew which caused my speech problem to worsen throughout my college and engineering days. I had a hard time introducing myself and I often used to skip the first lecture to avoid the introduction sessions.
Then in my first year if engineering I didn’t want to go to college. I was desperate to find a cure for stuttering and desired to become fluent. I searched for various books and videos on the internet to help myself. I found some books which were helpful but it didn’t give me a reliable concrete plan to work upon. I thought that if I didn’t cure this impediment now then I won’t be able to achieve what I want in my life.
I looked for the best speech therapist in Mumbai when I was in 2nd year of engineering and I found one speech therapist who was well known. So I started taking therapy from him. He gave me some good breathing exercises then asked me to read by taking a breath in my belly and slowly articulate while releasing the breath. While this was helpful for improving my breath holding capacity and improved my speech also I found the therapy expensive & the methods didn’t help to beat the main issue of dealing with the fears of stuttering. So I left the therapy midway as it was not working out.
Then in May 2017 during 3rd year of engineering I found Coach Lee’s book on Amazon. It was a 2nd edition and I read it completely. There were many good and genuine reviews of it online. So I thought I would give it a try by following the steps given in the book religiously. This book filled me with positivity and confidence. Each word of the book resonated with me, and it immediately gave me hope that I can self-cure myself and become a fluent speaker.
The book improved my speech as I understood concepts of Lee’s methods. But I found it hard in understanding some of the crutches. I wanted a practical demonstration so I wrote an email to Coach Lee requesting him for a skype session. Lee even in his busy schedule accepted my request with a big heart and we began skyping in Dec 2019. After a few sessions with coach lee my speech showed significant improvement & is improving day by day. In these 4 months my stuttering incidences have been dramatically reduced & come down to negligible low. I rarely think about stuttering now. I knew if I continued following the steps I would become a PWSS soon. Then in June 2020 Coach Lee asked WSSA speech coach Prathusha to coach me so I can expedite my self-cure. Prathusha immediately contacted me & we decided to do sessions once a week on Saturdays. I was amazed to see that in the first session itself she ignited a spark of enthusiasm & confidence in me. She brought the best out of me and I became Shubham 2.0. She further pushed me to keep upgrading to a better version of myself. I followed all her homework sincerely. She helped me whenever I had any doubt or any difficulty. After 3 sessions I had learnt the way to speak and use crutches effectively and had zero bad incidences which was a great achievement.
On the fourth session I was informed by her that I am no longer a PWS and I became a PWSS. I was extremely happy to hear this and was grateful to both Prathusha and Coach Lee for helping me reach this level where I am no longer detected as a stutterer, It brought a new freedom where I am free to speak when I want what I want without any fear.
Now I have started to love to speak. I know this battle is not over and I would have to do my ASTs and use crutches everyday no matter how fluent I get. As these are the perfect tools one can master to improve not just speech but one’s whole personality thus making one’s life better in every aspect. You can view my success video here: https://vimeo.com/441617117/ef4d4bb09f
I would like to thank WSSA Inc., Coach Lee and Prathusha from the bottom of my heart, for taking out time from their busy schedule and constantly encouraging me to love to speak in every session and helped me to bury what the Lee calls Satan stuttering deeper to a place where it wouldn’t bother me now. I know I am young but I wish that I would have met them much earlier when I first went for speech therapy. But I am glad that today my life has totally changed and now I make my day happy and not let external situations or anyone control my day. I can truly say now that stuttering has turned into a blessing for me. Now you can also join WSSA Inc., at www.worldstopstuttering.org, where Coach Lee’s book and methods are made much easier to understand and use and where you can learn from ex-stutterers, people who really understand stuttering and how to stop it. Most Saturday’s, you’ll find me at WSSA’s SpeechMasters Club, where I continue to improve my speech and my love of speaking. It’s fun as well.
SHUBHAM, India, July 2020