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A brief, clear explanation of a method of therapy which has had some success with stutterers in England--and might be useful to both speech therapists and the public. Irwin, a therapist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, keeps jargon to a minimum in explaining, as background, the various theories of why people stutter--basically a matter, still, of psychological vs. physical causation. To Irwin, the problem stems from a combination of both; but she feels that the symptom, stuttering, can be corrected without knowing the root cause. Pointing out, indeed, that stuttering may cause rather than be caused by fears or personality problems, she makes no place for extensive psychological workups in her method. We are introduced to some previous therapies and treatments (from tongue-slitting to analysis), and to their strengths and weaknesses; then Irwin sets out her own program, which is based on allowing the person to stutter in a slow, easy way. This involves pronouncing each sound of a word until the word is complete (m. . . o. . . ther); the goal is to enable the person to control the stutter. Apropos of speech therapy for children, a prime concern, Irwin maintains that many stuttering problems could be avoided if they were regarded as normal and left alone--especially in small children--rather than fussed over. With a practicable sequence of exercises, the book could be both usefully informative and of concrete help.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1981
Publisher: Walker