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'The Treatment of Stuttering in the Young School-Aged Child', ed Roberta Lees and Cameron Stark

Monica Bray | 01.06.2007

Review by Monica Bray, Senior Lecturer in Speech and Language Pathology and Therapy, Leeds Metropolitan University.

This is a varied and interesting book with chapters by well known people from the UK, the USA and Australia. It is dividable into three sections: the first deals with general issues such as epidemiology, assessment and the thorny issue of evidence; the second details a number of specific chapters by authors on their therapy approaches and the third focuses on the co-existence of other disorders with stuttering. This means it is a book that can be dipped into by different readers with differing interests.

The first section is of interest to the therapist or student wishing to have a better knowledge of how many children are at risk of stuttering and of continuing to stutter and the implication of this for much needed resources for work in the area. The group of chapters on specific approaches all set out their theoretical position and provide any research that has been done proving effectiveness of the therapy. This allows the therapist to consider the merits and demerits of each in terms of whether such an approach may fit his or her clients and contexts.

The final section looks at the literature on how stuttering links to other difficulties, such as learning problems, attention deficit disorder and syndromes. The general suggestions given for therapy are useful for newer therapists.

This book presupposes a general level of background knowledge and understanding in the areas of language and fluency so is less useful for the lay person. I was pleased to see chapters on concomitant problems such as Down's syndrome but felt that the suggestions that were given lacked a thorough discussion of the real level of cognitive difficulties such as memory and problem solving which make therapy with this client group so challenging. Sadly, the perspective of school and collaboration with the teacher is also lacking with no focus on integration of the treatments with school curricula. In trying to be all things to all people, this book has missed a vital opportunity to give a thorough grounding on the issues of work with school children who stutter.

The Treatment of Stuttering in the Young School-Aged Child Edited by Roberta Lees and Cameron Stark  Whurr Publishers, 2005.

From the Summer 2007 issue of 'Speaking Out', page 18