The Del Ferro Institute has been around for 40 years, helping people worldwide get rid of stuttering. Yet many people still think you have to learn to live with your stammer, but there is a solution.

When you stutter, it often controls your whole life. That is why the Del Ferro Institute runs five-day courses in which stutterers learn to speak fluently. 85 per cent of the ex-course participants now speak fluently, something that gave their lives a positive turn.

We called with principal Ingrid del Ferro and teacher Dennis Ensing. Dennis used to stutter himself, took the course at 21 and has been speaking fluently ever since. The course has brought him and many others so much that they now want to offer their approach worldwide.

Conceal your lack

Dennis: ‘1 per cent of people stutter. Some have become good at disguising their lack: they choose hobbies or jobs that require them to talk less or take sinas because they can’t pronounce ‘cola’. People’s behaviour changes because of their lack. They can’t be themselves.’

Ingrid: ‘If you can’t say what you want to say, you can’t be the person you actually are. You may feel insecure or create speaking anxiety. Mental consequences arise that should not be there.’

You don't have to live with it

Dennis: ‘Eight years ago, I took the course and it changed my life. Addressing strangers, talking on the phone and presenting were nightmares for me. Even pronouncing my own name was quite a task. Now I teach the course myself and stand daily giving presentations to strangers. I never thought that would happen.’

Ingrid: “Speech therapists often say, ‘You have to learn to live with it.’ That’s my frustration. These people can indeed get rid of their speech problem, you just need to know how.’

Your diaphragm muscle is the culprit

Ingrid: ‘Anyone who stutters knows: you don’t always stutter. There are periods when you speak fluently. And stuttering is also impossible while singing. My father was an opera singer and researched why the words do come out fluently while singing. The answer is: the diaphragm muscle is the cause of stuttering. So it is not a psychological problem, but stuttering has a physical cause with psychological consequences.

The diaphragm falters in people who stutter. There is no fluid movement in it, which means the muscle does not squeeze the air out of the lungs properly. As a result, the airflow does not flow smoothly against your vocal cords, causing you to stutter.’

This is the method

Ingrid: ‘To control your speech, you need to train your diaphragm muscle. You can do this by pushing the muscle inwards with your hands. We teach students this on the first day of the course, and from day one they are already speaking fluently. Another technique we teach them is to talk while exhaling, not while inhaling.

We generally teach the course in groups, as people are more likely to stutter in front of strangers. Then we teach them how to make phone calls, presentations, discussions and they take to the streets to practice their just-learned technique.’

Out into the wide world

Ingrid: ‘A German couple told us about their driver, Ayesh, who drove them around during their trip in Sri Lanka at the time. Ayesh stutters and that gave the couple the idea to help him. Through a German speech therapist, they came to Del Ferro. We immediately thought: we are going to help him.’

Dennis: ‘That eventually resulted in a trip to Sri Lanka. On 15 December, I will travel to the country and teach the course. We have set up many lines so that people know they can take a course for free.’

Ingrid: ‘We thought this was such a great story that at least once a year, we are going to offer people who stutter worldwide the chance to get rid of stuttering. It frustrates me that too often people say you can’t get rid of it. But it can, it really can.’

This article was published on Jan Magazine’s website on 28 November 2019

Plan je gratis online informatiegesprek over de therapie die Geertruida volgde

Geertruida stottervrij met Del Ferro

Voetballer Lutsharel Geertruida spreekt stottervrij in zijn documentaire 'Kind van Zuid'!

Mogelijk gemaakt door Del Ferro. Volg exact dezelfde stappen en word ook stottervrij! We vertellen je er graag alles over:

Del Ferro bij Humberto

Heb je Ingrid en Dennis gehoord bij Humberto op NPO Radio 1?

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