ELSA background

Stuttering- an Age Old Problem

Possibly the first recorded case of stuttering was mentioned in the Old Testament - Exodus Chapter 4, Verse 10, when Moses pleaded, '"O Lord, I'm just not a good speaker. I have never been, and I'm not now, even after you have spoken to me, for I have a speech impediment."

Since Biblical times many people, other great leaders included, have had the same problem: King George VI, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Somerset Maugham, Lewis Carroll, Marilyn Monroe. Others, such as actors James Earl Jones and Rowan Atkinson, singers Mel Tillis and Carly Simon, to say nothing of countless people in many less public walks of life, occupy positions of responsibility and trust despite their stuttering.

In total, 1 per cent of the population of the world have the same problem as Moses had. Often incapable of saying what they want to say, there is only a chance that they may say what they can. This lack of fluency leads not only to an inability to communicate effectively, but also a reluctance to communicate at all for fear of failure. In other words, for some stutterers there can be total isolation.

For an affliction which affects such a large number throughout the world, very few people seem to know, or want to know, about the anguish of stutterers.

Numerous clinical therapies exist for the stutterer able to access therapy, yet despite decades of research an established cure for stuttering is still not available.

However, practical programmes of self-help have been successfully used and can form a cornerstone by which the symptoms of stuttering can be substantially reduced.

It is now clear that, for the stutterer to benefit from self help, it needs to be easily and widely accessible to all at minimal cost.

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The International Stuttering Association
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