When Farah Al Qaissieh and her colleague Faisal Al Hammadi discovered they both speak with a stutter, they quickly recognized the therapeutic value of sharing their experiences.
That’s why the two Emiratis set up Stutter UAE, a support group for fellow stutterers, which meets once a month in Abu Dhabi.
“We wanted to create awareness and provide a platform for people to talk about it, and learn from each other,” said Farah, aged 24. “We share the experiences we’ve been through, the challenges and how we overcame them.
“We now have 15 stutterers who attend regularly, and we also have people who don’t stutter – friends and family of the stutterer– who come along to learn more about the condition and how to deal with people who do stutter.”
The group, whose slogan is ‘Stutter with a Smile’, also aims to break down the social stigma and prejudices associated with the condition, which is estimated to affect about one percent of the global population.
Speaking on the telephone can be particularly frustrating, Farah recalls, although it generally becomes easier with age.
“It was very difficult growing up, because children don’t understand and can be a little unkind,” she said. “We have had a couple of kids at the meetings, and they can really benefit too.
“What people don’t realize is that, despite the fact we all stutter, we all cope with it differently. By coming to the meetings, you can learn practical ways of managing with the condition from other stutterers, and that can really boost your confidence.”
You can also follow the group on Twitter: @stutteruae