Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stutter Social Stories: Ari Gershenovitz

In continuing with getting to know our members, we spoke with another Stutter Social regular about his experiences with stuttering and his involvement in Stutter Social. Please meet Ari Gershenovitz!

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I am living in Petach Tikva in Israel. I am 39 years old. I am working in the computer software area. I have stuttered from a very young age. My stuttering became so severe that I was afraid to talk with people. Just several years ago, I started to face my fears and speak with people.

2. What are your hobbies? 
I love to watch European basketball, and I always love to hear about stuttering therapy (in order to learn more about stuttering – I have more than 20 DVD's about stuttering therapy).

3. What's your "stuttering history" like? What was it like growing up as a PWS?
When I grew up, my stuttering changed from regular stuttering to very hard silent blocks. So it was impossible for me to [control my stuttering], and I avoided stuttering in any way. With my friends, I switched words, sentences,with other people. I just didn't speak.

In my head it was obvious that I just can't speak with people. I passed two"fluency shaping" treatments...it helped me to avoid my stuttering better. But still when I felt I am going to stutter, I didn't know what to do. Only several years ago, after discovering StutterTalk, I started to face my stuttering even if it is very hard.

Today, I can communicate with people, not always easily but still I can talk and stutter.

4. How did you find out about Stutter Social?
I am a friend of the great Hanan Hurwitz, who is one of the hosts of Stutter Social. So I knew about it, but it took me a while until I dared to try it.

5. What made you give Stutter Social a try?
I will start and say why I didn't try it before. My stuttering is very unstable. In some situations, it is not so hard. But in other situations it is very hard. Talking in English was always one of my hardest situations. It drive from several reasons like being unable to switch words, thinking about the sounds, forgetting words, and other reasons. So I had a big fear to talk in English. In the last few years I improved my confidence to speak in English, but still the fear was there.

Also I didn't know who would participate…and if my English will be good enough. So I was thinking about it, but I didn't dare participate.

My first Stutter Social try was on International Stuttering Awareness Day. I decided that it is a special event and maybe special guests will appear. I knew that I needed  to face my fear and to participate in this group, and this was a good time to start. When I tried it for the first time, I figured out that it is not so frightening, so I continued with  it.

6. How did Stutter Social help you?
First of all, I gained confidence to speak in English which was an impossible mission for me in the past. And now it is still hard, but possible.

Second, I have met wonderful people from all over the world. And also I hear about other people who stutter, how they cope with the day to day life with stuttering, and it has helped me to feel that I am not alone.

7. What tips would you give other PWS?
The tips I can give is: try to learn how to stutter, try to stop all the things you do in order to hide your stutter. It is OK to try to speak better, but when you feel the stuttering come, the best solution you can pick is to just stutter.

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