The story of Musharaf
Musharaf is a courageous and determined kid. It is not easy to face stuttering as he does. Often, school can be an oppressive environment, in which understanding and support are far from granted. At school, a child or teen who stutters may struggle with:
1) colleagues who make fun of his stutter.
2) teachers who may be afraid to talk to the child about stuttering and don’t know how to help.
3) parents who want the child to stop stuttering and believe that this is possible because the child “sometimes is fluent”.
All these situations (and others) can increase the impact of stuttering on a child’s quality of life, namely self-image and self-esteem. Unfortunately, this impact can be persistent and affect the individual’s participation in distinct spheres of social and academic interactions.
As Musharaf points out, it is “hard” to get through school when you stutter. He also refers that he feels “like an idiot inside”. Throughout this video, we see how Musharaf searches for different ways to communicate and adopts different strategies. However, some of these strategies, such as writing instead of talking, are not sustainable. These are what we call “avoidance strategies” and contribute to an increased fear of stuttering and communicating, instead of facilitating participation in these.
In our opinion, in this video, a lot of attention is given to speaking fluently, which can increase Musharaf’s fear of stuttering and make it even more difficult to deal with. However, we want to highlight the consistent emotional support he receives. The camaraderie and persistence of the school staff is invaluable: it improves the child’s feeling of being seen and heard, of being important, and that makes all the difference. At iStutter, we work to help people who stutter, from all ages, finding their voice and feeling comfortable in making use of it, anywhere, anytime, whenever they feel like it!
Cátia Catita, Speech and Language Pathologist