About the presenter: Briguel Babet is 16 years old and is a student in form V at "Presidency College" in Curepipe, Mauritius. Briguel joined the Mauritian self-help group in April 2007. In March 2008, he took part in the first Intensive Therapy Week that was run in Mauritius. Due to his enthusiasm and passion to help other persons who stutter, he was chosen to lead the 2009 self-help program of Friends 4 Fluency. In June 2009, Briguel Babet was elected as vice-president of Friends 4 Fluency.

You can post Questions/comments about the following paper to the author before October 22, 2009.

My Stuttering is Not Fatal!

by Briguel Babet
from Mauritius, Africa

My name is Briguel and I am 16 years old. Stuttering has always been part and parcel of my life; I do not know when it really started but according to my parents, it all started at the age of six or seven, when I was in primary school.

However, at this age, stuttering was not a problem for me probably because my parents considered it to be something normal as my god father had the same problem, too. However, as the years followed, stuttering started to become a big problem in my daily life.

I will tell you a little anecdote which happened when I was nine years old. During a French language class on grammar, my teacher asked me to spell the word "rouge", but I could not speak one single word. The teacher made stand on the top of a cupboard, believing that I was not paying attention in his class.

This experience has affected me a lot, and even now I can't erase this scene from my memory. This incident made me feel guilty for being a person who stutters and my self-esteem became very low. I never had the courage to tell my family about this experience, but I started questioning myself on topics such as "why do I stutter" and "why am I the only one in the world to have such a problem".

During a short period my stuttering diminished slightly, but when I started secondary school at the age of 12, my fear of stuttering increased and I was very concerned about the opinions and reactions of my classmates, teachers, and other people around me. This continued for about two years.

In 2007, a little ray of hope appeared when I listened to a radio program on a group of persons like me who had created a self-help group for persons who stutter. I immediately joined the group which was named Parole d'Espoir. There I learned many techniques on how to speak slowly and more fluently and these helped me to rebuild my self-esteem.

In 2008, I took part in an intensive therapy week which was taught by Anne-Marie Simon and Aude Fresnay, two benevolent French speech and language therapists. The therapy week helped me to do my "coming out" and speak to others about my stuttering. In turn, this helped me to have more fluent speech. At this moment, my self-esteem was at its highest, and even now it is still high.

At first, it was not easy for me to accept myself as a person who stutters. But with higher self-esteem, it has become easier for me to face the truth: I am a person who stutters and I must accept it. With that acceptance, I can face my family and all persons around me and tell them that I am person who stutters and I am proud of who I am. Indeed, this forms part of my personality and I have to live with it.

The problem of stuttering is not fatal, and we have to face the truth one day. All people around us have fears that they cannot escape, and one day they will have face their fears. It certainly takes some time to face the fear of stuttering and the path is difficult, but the results will compensate all efforts done.

You can post Questions/comments about the above paper to the author before October 22, 2009.

SUBMITTED: August 1, 2009
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