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'Stuttering From Theory To Practice', ed Margaret Fawcus, 1995

Margaret Evesham | 01.03.1996

Book review by Margaret Evesham, one of our speech and language therapy advisers.

Stuttering from theory to practiceThis book brings together the work of like-minded speech and language therapists who have experience of working with children, adolescents or adults who stutter. Throughout the book the influence of Kelly's Personal Construct Theory (PCT) is evident and one chapter is devoted entirely to this subject. Members of BSA who have an academic interest in stuttering and the work of speech and language therapists will want to read it.

Margaret Fawcus has written two chapters, "The Development of Stuttering: Implications for Early Intervention" and "Working with Adolescents". In the first she looks at causes, the influence of heredity, gender, and the environment and implications for educational attainment. She discusses the role of parents and presents practical ideas on how they may help their child.

Maggie must have been one of the first to develop intensive courses for young people. She inspired me in the early 1970s and I went on to develop my own courses in Hertfordshire. Maggie still inspires me. I certainly wanted to try the ideas presented in this chapter. I was however, surprised to find her still talking about assignments. Those of us under the influence of PCT now try to help clients develop and evaluate individual experiments. Although I have always favoured the "speak more fluently approach" Maggie's arguments for "stutter more fluently" are very convincing.

Rosemarie Hayhow in her chapter on "Stuttering and The Family" considers a model of stuttering development taking account of the child and the family and their interactions. This chapter is mostly theoretical but does give a flavour of therapy. In her chapter on "Working with Young Children" Rosemarie looks at current approaches to the young stutterer. If speech and language therapists take note of her advice they will want to think carefully about their academic and practical knowledge in the light of particular clients. They should not make clients fit their knowledge or preferred therapy programme.

Kursheed Bajina writes about the hidden aspects of stuttering behaviour and in a second chapter provides some practical ideas on group therapy with adults.

Roberta Williams writes on "Personal Construct Theory in Use With People Who Stutter". A degree of background knowledge is assumed so there is only a brief description of the theory, but stuttering behaviour and therapy from the viewpoint of Personal Construct Theory is discussed comprehensively. Over the past decade PCT has had an enormous influence on speech and language therapists particularly on those working with stutterers. I have no doubt therefore, that this chapter will be of great interest to members of BSA as well as therapists and students.

Renee Byrne's contribution "Qualities of the Therapist: Implication for Training" provides food for thought. Adults who stutter and parents of a disfluent child will be interested in this. It will help them to understand the therapist's point of view and to know what attributes to look for in the person helping them or their child.

The final chapter by Norbert Lieckfeldt contains information on the BSA (before the name changed) and insight into the stutterer's view with "At the Receiving End".

As an avid reader of anything to do with stuttering I enjoyed this book but it left me wondering if it has added anything new to the literature already available.

Spring 1996 issue of 'Speaking Out'.