Who is Keith Boss?
In his own words: “I am Keith Boss, a UK citizen. I have stuttered for 60 plus years. In February 2006 I decided to make changes in my life. I am now a recovering person who stutters working for Stefan Hoffmann, Chair of the outreach group of ISA (International Stuttering Association).” ISA can be found at http://www.stutterisa.org
Why this project?
Up to March/April 2006, several Indian people who stutter had contacted other National Associations (British, American) asking for help. These requests filtered to the ISA. Keith had joined various Internet groups of people who stutter who are looking for ideas, debate and to exchange information amongst themselves and SLPs/SLTs (the professionals who try to help us). He was also aware of Indian people who stutter requesting help, requesting information, asking about different treatments and complaining their therapies did not usually give good long-term results.
The ISA asked Keith to take the lead on this project because the help available to people who stutter in India appeared to be sparse, and uncoordinated. His Internet searches led him to think that there were several treatment sites, limited up to date general information but nothing of any national stature.
He started this project in the sumer of 2006. A small, but expanding team of Indian people who stutter (living in India / UK / USA) gradually formed:
Prem - represented India at Croatia conference (see his essay at : http://www.stutterisa.org/Essays.html ), Shyam, Anurag, Sikander, Sanjeet, Sundeep, Tanveer, Vishal, Nikhil, Hetal, Murtuza and many others (Keith, help me with this list, please!)
Early Ideas: Keith's early ideas of work in India were focused on -
1. A website as a prelude to TISA’s website: generating interest, a point of focus and for sharing information.
2. TISA should be a fund raising, non-profit Association, run by a few paid Indians, as well as many volunteer Indians. The Indians should be PWSs with a few SLPs. Its objectives will be to provide information and carry out research on all aspects of stuttering and be completely unbiased in all its work.
3. Promotion of self help group movement: encourage local people who stutter to start self-help groups in as many towns as possible. Meeting places in Universities / Hospitals / Schools / Libraries would be ideal, as would voluntary help by local SLPs. Equally important is self-help on Indirect Therapy for parents with preschool children with speech learning issues as well as self-help groups, in schools, for children who stutter.
4. Publicity and dissemination of information: Leading to an Indian (/Asian) Stuttering Conference with workshops / talks from worldwide participants. This in turn should lead to a long series of four conferences a year at different University / Hospital sites spread around India.
Nine IPWS met in Mumbai for the first time on 13th April 2008- after considerable planning and preparation, to deliberate about formation of TISA. In this face to face meeting, they discovered that their unique speech issue offered not just a common basis of empathy and understanding (in spite of many differences) but also a strong imperative to act together. They knew what it meant to stammer through their adult lives. They also realized that among their group, they had diverse skills, experiences, energies and potentials. They decided to form a core group, start a simple website, help each other by sharing information and encouragement, promote SHGs and keep the organizational structure informal but highly functional. (Please see the report as a pdf file in IPWS yahoo chat group, file section or request us through email.)
Sachin, representing Samagra Trust, facilitated this initiative, along with Dr Akash Acharya, Surat.