The Indian Stammering Association

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The Indian Stammering Association
TISA Logo.jpg
TypeCommunity Service
FocusPeople who stammer
Area served
Bangalore Mumbai Surat Jammu Herbertpur Goa Pune Delhi Chennai Meerut Hyderabad Kolkata Chandigarh Jaipur Ahmedabad Indore

The Indian Stammering Association (TISA) is a public charitable trust and self-help movement for people in India who stammer.


It is estimated that 11 to 12 million people in India stammer.[1][2][3] Stammering is a physiological disorder.[4] The World Health Organization classification of stuttering (stammering), in the section "Mental and behavioural disorders", is F98.5, where the definition is given as "Speech that is characterised by frequent repetition or prolongation of sounds or syllables or words, or by frequent hesitations or pauses that disrupt the rhythmic flow of speech. It should be classified as a disorder only if its severity is such as to markedly disturb the fluency of speech."[5] However, as there is a shortage of good speech therapists in India, speech therapy is highly expensive, and the government of India does not officially recognise the condition as a handicap.[6][7]


TISA grew out of a Yahoo group started on 3 April 2001 by an Indian PWS, Viren Gandhi.[1] By late 2010 the group had 576 members, contributing almost 6000 posts on issues including speech therapy reviews, self-help ideas and emotional support.

Some members of the group met in person for the first time in Mumbai on 13 April 2008. They decided to start a self-help association, to be named The Indian Stammering Association.[8] TISA started a blog on 9 May 2008. This blog was the first Indian blog on stammering in open public internet space, unlike chat groups, which required registration and were open primarily to people who stammer.[9]

There had been other parallel and/or preceding attempts by Indians to seek and offer help with stammering. Inspired by Keith Boss, a trustee of the British Stammering Association and board member of the International Stuttering Association, a small group of Indians started an internet group. One Indian PWS contributed to International Stammering Awareness Day in 2006[10] and another attended the world congress in Croatia in 2007. A group in Chennai had been meeting under the statute of Mahatma Gandhi on the Marina Beach from 2001. The Samagra Trust also helped TISA in its formative years, by publishing a booklet on stammering among other things.[11]

The Indian Stammering Association launched its official website on 15 August 2009. It was formally registered as Public Charitable Trust Number 6055 on 13 November 2009. The trust's head office is located at Herbertpur, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.


The trust has conducted self-help workshops, based on acceptance, breathing techniques and CALMS approach in various Indian cities. A model of the workshop is freely available on the internet.[12] TISA promotes self-help groups in different cities, has made available a self-help manual that combines the modern approach to stammering with eastern concepts of self-acceptance, and produces a newsletter.[13][14][15][16] TISA is also participating in genetic research in stammering in India.[17] TISA organised a three-day National Conference at IHS, Bhubaneshwar (31st Dec 2011 to 2nd Jan 2012).[18] Twenty five participants from different parts of the country learned from each other, shared their experiences and did sight seeing. Dr Satya Mahapatra and Dr Elaine Robin from National Stuttering Association (USA) gave the inaugural address and shared their wisdom with the participants over the three days.[18]

Self-help groups[edit]

Groups are open to those taking speech therapy from any source, and are facilitated by a volunteer PWS. This facilitator offers the opportunity to practise communication skills in a group setting, offer and receive counseling, and gain information on techniques and therapists. TISA regards the optimum number of participants for a SHG to be no more than 12. There is no minimum number. Cities with TISA self-help groups include Bangalore, Mumbai, Surat, Jammu, Herbertpur, Goa, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Dehradun, Meerut, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ludhiana and Ahmedabad.[19]

TISA's self-help communication workshops last from 3–10 days, depending on the participants' needs and availability of time. These workshops are based on Acceptance: Even though I stammer, I accept myself whole heartedly, because there is an inner perfection in me. Breathing techniques based on Pranayama are introduced as an aid to relaxation and to a speech driven by belly breathing. Western techniques are also incorporated[20] and the four techniques, adapted from a book by Peter Reitzes,[21] among other sources. Accepting and serving other PWS is an important concluding theme in the workshop. Some participants have started their own self-help groups after the workshop.[22][23][24]


In October 2010 TISA filed a public interest writ petition against the director and producers of the film Golmaal 3 and the censor board of India at Uttarakhand High Court. It objected to the film's portrayal of stammerers as objects of ridicule, on the grounds that this promoted discrimination and the teasing and bullying of people who stammer.[25][26][27]

The film-makers and Censor Board have to respond to the court notice by 14 December 2010.[25]


TISA philosophy consists of two precepts:

  • "Accept stammering and work on communication".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Suryanarayan, Deepa (January 4, 2010). "Who needs help, he who stammers or he who doesn't?". Mumbai- India: Daily news and analysis. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  2. ^ Sheth, Dr Parul R (October 22, 2010). "Stuttering challenges". Times of India—Times Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  3. ^ Olwoch, Anthony; Okwera, Oyet (6 June 2010). "Speech Defect - Tension, anxiety trigger stammering". New Vision. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  4. ^ K.Lakshmi and R.Sujatha (January 20, 2010). "Tongue-tied for fear of stammering? Shed myths Health & Lifestyle". Chennai: The Hindu. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  5. ^ "ICD Version 2007—Mental and behavioural disorders". WHO. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  6. ^ Suryanarayan, Deepa; Madhoomita Mookerji (April 14, 2008). "Speech therapy is extremely expensive". Mumbai: Daily news and analysis. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  7. ^ Bhanushali, Kishor. "Defining Disabilities: NSSO v/s Census". Disability India Network. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  8. ^ Boss, Keith (July 2008). "Work in outreach" (PDF). One Voice (25): 3–4. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Sachan, Prakhar (12 August 2006). "Influence of Stuttering on Career Decisions: A Personal Story". Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  11. ^ Srivastava, Satyendra. "Samagra Publications". Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Communication Workshop for People Who Stammer (PWS)". The Indian Stammering Association. 7–17 January 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  13. ^ "Stammering for Dummies: A self-help manual from The Indian Stammering Association". The Indian Stammering Association. 10 March 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Finding ways to attain eloquence". The Hindu. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  15. ^ Alvi, Naziya (22 October 2009). "Hiding makes problem worse". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  16. ^ Suryanarayan, Deepa; Mookerji, Madhoomita (14 April 2008). "Conversation, interrupted". Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  17. ^ Ramanan, Revathi (24 January 2011). "Stammering a genetic disorder: Expert". Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  18. ^ a b "First NC Report: Expert" (PDF). 24 January 2012.
  19. ^ Mathai, Kamini TISA Chennai Chapter inaugurated!, quoted in The Times of India, 21 January 2009. Accessed 22 November 2010.
  20. ^ George, Mary; McHugh, Megan. "CALMS Method of Assessment/Treatment". Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  21. ^ Reitzes, Peter. "50 Great Activities for Children Who Stutter". Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  22. ^ Mandal, Manidipa (February 9, 2010). "Stuck in a Stutter?"., Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  23. ^ BASU, RITH (April 19, 2010). "Self-help group for speech problem". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  24. ^ "TISA SHG in Indore".
  25. ^ a b Shah, Kunal M (November 16, 2010). "Golmaal 3 sued!". Mumbai: Times of India. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  26. ^ Bhatti, Sharin, Golmaal 3 sued, Shreyas Talpade shocked! Archived 2011-05-15 at the Wayback Machine. Hindustan Times, 18 November 2010. Accessed 21 November 2010.
  27. ^ Agencies (15 November 2010). "Shreyas' stammer becomes issue of contention". Indian Express News Service. Retrieved 23 November 2010.

External links[edit]