They are the butt of jokes.
Every comedian’s delight.
Most Nollywood productions would always include a stammering village clown or a stammering never-do-well. To most people, mimicking them is innocent fun but to those affected, it’s mean and unpleasant.
Stammering also known as stuttering is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds.
Over the centuries, there have been countless theories about possible causes of stammering and researchers across the world have been trying to find out exactly what makes one child more vulnerable than another. Recently, there has been growing evidence that genetics plays an important part, but not in all families. There have also been suggestions that stammering may be a sign that the child’s developing nervous system for speaking fluently may be less efficient. Males are more vulnerable – the reason is not fully known. Males are also more at risk for other speech, language and literacy problems too.
Daily events, experiences, attitudes and behaviours that occur at home and school do have an impact on children in diverse ways and for children who stammer it is quite profound. It is often assumed that people who stammer are shy or nervous. In actual fact this is not true. Children and adults who stammer have exactly the same range of personality types as everyone else. However, stammering can affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence in some situations – and shyness may be the result of the stammering.
Notable world figures that had challenges with stammering include the pop singer Marc Anthony and B.B.King the acclaimed guitarist, singer, and songwriter. The awesomely attractive actress and singer Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Bruce Willis of the Die Hard series and Shaquille O’ Neal who won three consecutive NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000, 2001, and 2002 are also included. Stammering did not affect their ability to excel in their chosen fields.
The 22nd day of October every year is the International stuttering awareness day to educate people about the condition..
Care for those who stammer is usually provided by a speech and language therapist (SLT). There are direct and indirect therapy modalities. The indirect therapy involves parents making changes to the way they communicate and the home environment, rather than focusing directly on the child’s talking. The goal of indirect therapy is to create an environment where the child feels less pressure when speaking. This may involve:
- speaking slowly and calmly to the child
- avoiding interrupting or criticising the child
- making the family environment as relaxing and calm as possible
‘Direct therapy involving the Lidcombe Program is a widely used behavioural therapy for the treatment of stammering in young children. It’s designed to be carried out by the child’s parents under the guidance of a speech and language therapist. The programme is based on the principle of providing consistent feedback to the child about their speech in a friendly, non-judgmental and supportive way.’
As you can see, to stammer no dey easy…..abeg show dem love.