About the presenter: Dr. Moussa Dao is a pharmacist in the West African nation of Burkina Faso. He lives in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. He is 31 years old and has stuttered since childhood. Four of the eight children born to his mother stutter. Conscious of the problems encountered by the people who stutter in Africa and conscious of the absence of centers for treatment, he decided, to use the Internet, to research stuttering around the world. In November 2002, he connected with the International Stuttering Association (ISA), and is designated as a "special friend" of the ISA since January 2002. He is very actively involved in the cause of the people who stutter in his country and plans to extend the self help association movement, first in West Africa and then in all Africa. In February 2002 he created Action Against Stuttering (abbreviated in French A.C.B.) the first association of people who stutter in his country and West Africa, and third association throughout all of Africa. He is the president of this association. In addition to stuttering, Dr. Dao walks with the assistance of one crutch due to a deformity of his right foot.

You can post Questions/comments about the following paper to Moussa Dao before October 22, 2003.

Be Yourself

by Moussa Dao
from Burkina Faso, Africa

Being born in a developing country where there are no speech pathologists and information about stuttering, but having a chance to get advice from an adult who stutters and who successfully manages his stuttering is precious. Unfortunately I didn't have this chance.

I would have liked to have heard from an adult that:

First of all, know that you are not alone. Stuttering affects many other children, adolescents, adults and even aged persons. Stuttering exists in all cultures. It's called Bidiga in Mossi, Sigi Sigi in Jula or Mandingo, Ohmayo in Fulani -- the three main languages in your country of Burkina Faso. In fact, stuttering exists in all countries around the world.

Stuttering will not prevent you from becoming what you wish. Many other people stutter but that didn't hold them back. There are many famous people who stuttered or stutter. Listen this story:

There was a child who stuttered. He wanted to hide his stuttering in the classroom. That made his stuttering become worse. The more he tried to hide his stuttering more he stuttered. He was afraid of speaking in front of people. Stuttering was his worst enemy. But in the past few years, he decided to make peace with his stuttering. And now he is not afraid to speak in front of people. His fluency has improved. In your country, there are no speech language pathologists (SLP). But you should know that even if there had been SLPs, you still need to be the one in charge of your own treatment. Some people will propose miraculous treatments to cure your stuttering. Be careful -- there is no miracle treatment. You will hear folk ideas about stuttering treatment such as attaching a hot metal on the lips of the child or drinking porridge made with an owl's nest. Please ignore them.

In the classroom, if children tease or bully you, ignore them. Show to your friends that you are not ashamed of what you are. You have to face your fears. Talk in your classroom, ask questions. Eliminating stuttering should not be your objective. You should live as you are. You must be what you are and not what people want you to be. So be yourself

You can post Questions/comments about the above paper to the author before October 22, 2004.


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