J has visited us twice so far. She is a class ten student in a local school. She is intelligent, fluent and with good social skills. So- yes, I too asked- so, what is the problem? Few days back, she stumbled on a word in class, while answering teacher and the students (it is co-ed) twittered. This is the age when a pimple can cause you intense inner suffering and anxiety. No amount of being told that it would go away, helps.
She did not stammer at all in these two meetings. But when I asked her to bounce- which a child half her age would do in a trice- she failed to do it. Why? because she has a lot of subconscious fear and hatred for any disfluency. No wonder, when she does stammer (even if it happens occasionally) she is filled with intense self-loathing and embarrassment. So much so, that she would forget rest of her line and go quiet. It would produce intense guilt (how could I mess it up?), anxiety (I Wonder What does teacher/ others think of me now?) and shame (Cant even say two words together..). Over a few days, it becomes a rolled ball of emotions which sinks deep in her subconscious and her memories. This is how a life long pattern is born.
But God willing she will start a reverse process under her own steam. Why I say that? because she has taken the initiative on her own; has asked deep questions; is intelligent, does her home work; and because she has not given up her dream of becoming a lawyer... I hope her family and her class mates and teachers dont fail her.