The ancient Greeks called the diaphragm ‘the home of the soul’ and since I learned breathing from the diaphragm to control my stutter, I started to speak from my soul rather than from my ego.

For as long as I can remember I’ve stuttered and throughout my life I have tried numerous techniques to overcome it. Over time my stuttering developed and I was stuttering fast with secondary behaviours like substituting words and tightening body muscles. Speaking was the toughest job for me.

On a speech course an instructor was filming me on video and asked me about my family, I said eight members because it was difficult to say four, I could not say I have four young lovely sisters.

It’s really painful for a young intelligent Saudi man to only be able to express his ideas, thoughts, opinions and emotions on paper and emails and texts. After learning how to control stammering through costal breathing I realized It’s not about becoming fluent, it’s about acceptance and making the most out of life, no chains, no mountain crushing me, smiling, laughing, teaching the technique to new people, listening to people, pat somebody’s back and give someone a high five. To me THAT’S WHAT I CALL CONTROLLING SOMETHING THAT ONCE CONTROLLED ME.

“Happiness can exist only in acceptance.”

However, I became very disillusioned by the way that diaphragmatic retraining (costal breathing), was introduced into the U.A.E. by expensive franchised multi-level marketing. I believe that the introduction of the Starfish Project will help to bring effective, accessible and supported therapy to a greater numbers of people who stammer in the region at a decent affordable price.

Salam Alikom,

Rakan Otaibi