Hi, I am Yuka. Nice to meet you. I would like to explain about my vision of Stacha project. That's because I founded this project. When I was nine, I started stuttering, and I grew into a 24-year-old woman without ever being cured. Even now, I still battle with this issue, because I talk with people every day. At those times, this stuttering symptom is a prominent concern, and so I feel it has great influence on my life.
First, what is stuttering? Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. So what problems does stuttering actually cause, outside of making it hard to talk? First, you can't talk like the people around you. Your mother, teachers, and friends notice and tease you, so your repeated experiences instill you with a sense of failure. Then, you blame yourself for being unable to do what everyone else can do. You conclude that you're inferior, and your self-confidence falls. Finally, you lose confidence in communication, stop approaching people, and miss out on chances in life. Through this process, people who stutter easily become people with social anxiety disorder. We posited that this is the core problem.
We defined our approach as "the establishment of cognitive disorders due to stuttering induced by a physical response." As a child, when I talked about my experiences, even though I gathered my courage and came out, I still often stuttered! I was told that it would go away if I stopped being nervous. Even though I also stuttered when I wasn't nervous, they refused to understand. Finally, I was told that it would go away if I practiced, and I believed that for ten years. Lack of understanding closed my heart. Children have limited vocabulary and means of communication, so my friends, teachers, and parents didn't understand. Without knowing that stuttering was a disorder, I grew up thinking I was simply a person who couldn't do a basic thing that everyone else could do. I first learned about stuttering disorder when I searched on a PC at college. After that, I slowly became able to forgive my own stuttering, speak openly to people, and face the world. But even now, when I confess that I stutter, people say, "What's that?" And when I explain, over 90% of people reply, "Oh, that sounds rough." By the way, I don't mean to blame those people.
Right now, I live in New York. I'm studying English, and in my case, my stuttering gets worse with English. Every day at Starbucks, my voice shakes when I order. I worry about stuttering, my voice grows quiet, and they ask me to repeat myself over and over. Every day. To be honest, it's very frightening. I sense that I destroy the pleasant atmosphere that everyone felt before. I feel that if I stutter, it's inexcusable. However, I think that there is much meaning in expanding this device in the United States, which is the global leader in stuttering research. So I applied to an American graduate school. I made Stacha the focus of my master's thesis and have decided to continue the project. Although there are many people worldwide suffering from stuttering, they aren't seen or understood by many people. Can something so ridiculous be true? The person right in front of you might have stuttering, but you wouldn't know it. They hide it. They still carry the trauma of their childhood when nobody understood. So they hide their stuttering weakness, and blame themselves if they fail. Of course, if society realizes there are full-grown adults who experience daily fear over ordering a coffee, that won't save all stuttering people. That's because this disorder, whose causes are not fully understood, has complex symptoms. However, this device can definitely save me. Experiencing trauma like I did and continuing to suffer in adulthood is something I absolutely don't want for the next generation of children. And I believe that this device can give more people all over the world the confidence to enter society and challenge themselves with new possibilities. So please help me expand those opportunities. Thank you.