Speech-Language Pathology/Stuttering/Recommended Books

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Fun With Fluency: Direct Therapy with the Young Child, by Patty Walton, MA-SLP, and Mary Wallace, MA-SLP (1998; ISBN 1883315395) is the best book I've read about treating children ages two to seven years old. It's all about direct stuttering therapy (as opposed to the old, ineffective indirect methods. A hierarchical progression of therapy begins with easy, stretchy speech; making direct requests for easy speech; modeling self-corrections; play speech games; contrast easy speech with hard speech; and embracing the speech villains.

Motor Control and Learning: A Behavioral Emphasis, by Richard Schmidt, Tim Lee (2005; ISBN 073604258X) will tell you more about stuttering therapy, especially fluency shaping therapy, than any other book—even though this book never mentions stuttering. This book is about how our brains learn and execute complex motor (muscle) skills. Fluent speech is our most complex motor skill. If the stuttering "experts" were to read this book, stuttering therapy would advance fifty years.

Stuttering: An Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment, by Barry Guitar (1998). This is the best book I've read about stuttering. The first part of the book presents the essentials of stuttering research. The second part of the book differentiates stuttering modification therapy from fluency shaping therapy, and then shows how to integrate the two therapies. The writing is clear and understandable to undergraduate speech-language pathology students or even non-speech-language pathologists.

Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head, by Carla Hannaford (1995; ISBN 0915556278) is yet another book that isn’t about stuttering. This book shows how (and why) to use cross-lateral exercises to enhance learning. When we learn one thing in one area of our brain, and learn something else in another area, sometimes the different areas of the brain fail to communi-cate and we don’t seem to have learned. This is clear with learning-disabled children who can learn numbers, learn the words for numbers, and learn pictures of a number of objects (e.g., 7, seven, and seven apples) but fail to connect these concepts. Cross-lateral exercises involve moving your left hand or foot to the right side of your body, and your right hand or foot to the left side of your body (crossing your midline). Such exercises require commu-nication between your brain’s left and right hemispheres and seem to enhance learning. Because stutterers have more activity in their right hemispheres during speech, when non-stutterers have more activity in their left hemispheres during speech, cross-lateral exercises might enhance stuttering therapy.

Stuttering: A Life Bound Up In Words, by Marty Jezer (1997). Jezer was a talented and entertaining writer, and author of biographies of Abbie Hoffman, Rachel Carson, and other books. This is Jezer's autobiography, and stuttering affected everything in his life. You learn much about stuttering and especially stuttering therapies, because Jezer went gone through just about every therapy program (and still stuttered).

Knotted Tongues, by Benson Bobrick (1996). Bobrick is a historian, and the bulk of the book is about historical and literary persons who stuttered. These include Moses, Charles I, Lewis Carroll, Henry James, W. Somerset Maugham, Winston Churchill, and Marilyn Monroe. Bobrick also covers the history of stuttering treatments. Knotted Tongues is written for non-professionals. The book also has a thirty-page overview of stuttering science, and a twenty-page overview of stuttering therapies.

The Mary Marony series of books, by Suzy Kline, portrays a seven-year-old girl who stutters. She is supported by her parents, speech pathologist, and teacher. In Mary Marony Hides Out (1996), Mary's favorite author comes to talk to her school. She is torn between her desire to talk to the author and her fear of speaking in the school assembly. When she gets up the courage to speak, a classmate makes fun of her, and Mary hides in the bathroom. The author stuttered growing up.

The Loop, by Nicholas Evans (1998; ISBN 0440224624) Like Evans' first novel The Horse Whisperer, this book is set in Montana. The central characters are a successful rancher and Luke, the rancher's 18-year-old son. Luke stutters, and the father punishes him as if stuttering were a character flaw. The other teenagers ridicule Luke. His speech-language pathologist (who uses stuttering modification therapy) is sincere but ineffective. Luke decides not to go to college because he's afraid to talk. He's happy alone in the mountains, watching his father's cattle. Or so his father thinks. Luke is actually watching a family of wolves. When his father wants to kill the wolves, Luke courageously stands up to his father.