Friday, August 19, 2011


I've just spent today at a one day course on 'Practical Stuttering Techniques for the School-Aged Child' organised by Pearson in the city given by J. Scott Yaruss, the co-author of the OASES forms used in evaluating the functional impacts stuttering can have on a person.

Fear, phobias and anxiety are always issues which come up whenever the topic of stuttering comes to mind. It's instinctive, even to the lay person that a stutterer does so especially when he is anxious, afraid or scared. This is completely true of course, and is often one of the key issues we as therapists must inform the client. Do not let the fear of stuttering control you, because that is exactly what makes you stutter even more.

When Dr Yaruss started on the topic on his arachnaphobia and how these children basically experience that level of anxiety all the time, I began to recall the times when I was still of a single-digit age, and when I was in a (fairly traditional) Chinese primary school. I remembered being petrified of every single Chinese language teacher before the age of 9. I would never EVER dream of asking to go to the toilet during chinese classes, and would almost always do my homework until I was Primary 3 (I think...)

One key experience I remember was when the class was walking down the stairs in pairs for the flag lowering ceremony at the end of the day, and our Chinese teacher told the 2 children at the front to stop walking while she caught up; but they didn't. So she reprimanded them (not too badly actually, I think she yanked the girl's ear slightly, but it sure freaked the hell outta me cos I was just behind them), and promptly told them to swap with me and my partner.

For that 2 flight of stairs, I swear I was as nervous as hell! Man I don't even get so nervous giving presentations now! Why was I so petrified? It wasn't that she was a tyrannical teacher or anything like that, I was just afraid that I wouldn't understand her when she said 'stop' in mandarin and end up overshooting and being reprimanded as being 'disobedient', when actually, I just don't understand. Thankfully, none of that happened and I got to the parade square nice, safe and without peeing myself.

Many times as children we're so petrified of adults. I knew I was afraid of all the chinese teachers because I couldn't understand shit. What ever they'd say, I probably only got half the message (and then whoever was around me would have to explain again). The fear of speaking chinese was even greater! I was just so shy with speaking mandarin actually.

When I think back now, I'm so glad I'm over that stage of being afraid of people. It's not a very good fear to have I reckon =P Lesson for today?

Make sure my kids are friggin' bilingual and don't have to go through the same horrible feeling of inadequateness as I did!
 Gaby better start on her chinese lessons soon!! (I'm going to make sure her first chinese words are 'ah yee'!

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