Hi, my name is Vishal and I am a 21 year old student. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. I have been stuttering for as long as I can remember and it wasn’t until I came across World Stop Stuttering Association that I really began seeing an improvement in my speech. I grew up in a household in which both my father and my sister were stutterers as well; therefore, I always assumed that stuttering was genetic and no matter how hard I worked at it, there would never be any “cure.” When I first began reading Lee Lovett’s book, Stuttering and Anxiety Self Cures, 3rd Edition, I was absolutely shocked when Lee said that stuttering is a habit built over time, not a genetic trait. That was when I first made it a goal of mine to conquer stuttering.
The way I came across the book is pretty unique. I was on the app Reddit and was scrolling through the subreddit r/stutter. This is a community where fellow stutterers can offer advice, ask questions, or simply rant about the frustrations that come with stuttering. It was here that I saw someone recommend Lee’s book. I read some reviews online and bought it that same night. As I read the book out loud, my confidence began increasing automatically simply from hearing my fluency (I never stuttered when I was alone). This confidence began translating to social interactions with close friends and family members; however, I knew there was still lots of work to do. It wasn’t until I started the coaching sessions that I was able to see nearly 100% fluency.
I decided to do the coaching sessions because in his book, Lee gives a plethora of amazing examples of success stories and as I read all about them, I realized that conquering this lifetime habit was actually possible. My speech coach was Prathusha Ravi and she truly did an excellent job of describing how to use the crutches the correct way and how to practice. Reading Lee’s book was very helpful and provided me with a strong foundation on the crutches and other techniques; however, the sessions with Prathusha gave me all of the necessary skills as well as the motivation to beat stuttering. Of course, there were bad instances while I was still learning the crutches. And even though I am classified as a PWSS, I still need to work on my confidence in high pressure situations as I still get quite anxious when public speaking. However, knowing that I possess the ability to speak any word, any time is something I thought I would never have.
The coaching sessions were most helpful because until our first one, I was so confident that I was using all of the crutches the correct way. But Prathusha was able to inform me on the first session that I was not using them to the best of my ability and taught me the right way to use them. It was not until the coaching sessions that I saw any visible progress in my fluency.
To all of the people that are reading this that have not yet begun their journey to fluency: I know it may seem impossible. For the longest time, I was not trying to fight the stutter and instead, I was trying to live with it because I thought there was no possible way to beat it. That is not true. It is going to be difficult, frustrating, time consuming, but in the end, you’re going to be able to live the life that you dream about. You’re going to be able to have those conversations you are too nervous to have now and give those passionate presentations you hear from your peers. I have not appeared speech abled for over a month. Of course, I still have work to do but I am confident that there will be a day where I will forget stuttering and that is something I never thought would happen.
I am going to keep practicing the crutches, reading aloud every day, and reciting the ASTs because I have seen the results. And now that I have seen the results, I am eager to keep going and keep on improving. Relapses happen, but the best thing you can do is have confidence in yourself and these techniques.
Thank you to Lee for writing such an amazing book that sparked a major change in my life surely for people around the world. And finally, a BIG thank you to my coach, Prathusha. Your passion, dedication, and amazing teaching abilities have given me a lifetime full of fluency and positive experiences. I simply cannot express my gratitude. If you want to elevate your life and convert stuttering into a blessing, then, you, too, should join WSSA at https://worldstopstuttering.org get to work.
VISHAL, New Jersey, August 2021