People with Speech Disorder especially Stammerers face so much Stigma from the Society and it doesn’t get any better for them. Most are driven to silence, depression and even suicide because of the Stigma. Teachers for example in Kenya have really played a huge role in encouraging stigma towards people who stammer especially in classes and it has made many students in classes to keep making fun of the people who stammer.
Kenya doesn’t recognize stammering as a Disability but if you look at it from a broader perspective, people who stutter or stammer to the extreme face a huge challenge when it comes to expressing themselves hence are more likely to be disadvantaged in many cases. For example, you can’t expect someone who stammers to take part in an interview and given the same amount of time as someone who doesn’t stammer and call that fairness. Logic or equity in this case will require that someone with a stammering condition and is unable to express themselves easily in a short time should be awarded or given more time.
Being a Stammerer doesn’t mean that their brain doesn’t function well, contrary, they know exactly what to say but the words just don’t come out as easily as the rest of the People. So when dealing with someone who stammers, give them time. Be patient. It is all they need most of the time. Also, don’t pressure them to speak faster as it makes them more anxious hence even more difficulty in speaking.
The Stigma towards stammerers has bern really normalized to an extent that people don’t see that it is a problem to laugh at their condition. In fact, even comedians go on the podium and crack jokes about it and the rest of the people laugh at it in the name of comedy. This should be condemned. Jokes about conditions People are going through and struggling to manage are not funny. There is also the issue of people avoiding to interact with stammers thinking that it’s infectious. No it isn’t so treat them as you treat any other human being.
It is my prayer that we can learn to have humanity in us and not just be humans. It is the humanity that makes us human beings so let’s learn to treat everyone with love and care and not stigmatize people for their condition. Be better, Do Better.
Bravin Yuri is a Mental Health advocate with a background in Political Science and Sociology. He is also an activist, Blogger and Social media Influencer and the Founder of Mental Health Kenya