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Book preview: 'Stammering: Advice for all ages'

Renée Byrne, Louise Wright | 01.06.2008

Renée Byrne and Louise Wright preview their new book which was published in July 2008.

We have been working together in the post-graduate training of speech & language therapists since the 1980s. This partnership has developed successfully, both professionally and personally, because we share the same beliefs, attitudes and ideas about stammering and stammering therapy.

Around 2005, we were considering writing a book together when, coincidentally, Sheldon Press made the decision to discontinue their popular books 'Coping with Stammering' and 'Helping Children Cope with Stammering'. Sheldon now wanted a book which covered all ages - and that is what they have got! The contract was signed in December 2006 and 'Stammering: Advice for all ages' will be in bookshops late in July 2008!

Although Renée had previously written the innovative book, 'Let's Talk about Stammering' (now out of print but still available from the BSA lending library), we had never written a book together. Therefore, we had to discuss the logistics of who would write what, the content and the sequencing of chapters. Our professional writing styles are markedly different - Louise is careful, specific and researched, whereas Renée tends to be more casual, spontaneous and user-friendly. Somehow, we had to blend our dissimilar styles into a seamless book which would be accurate, easy to read and jargon-free.

When writing, we became crucially aware of the individual needs of readers, as well as of the varied nature of stammering, and the difficulty that this diversity presents when offering blanket advice. We hope that the advice and exercises, which we have chosen, will be relevant to those readers who are unable to access professional help, or who wish to supplement such help.

We have had a wonderful time working on the book, and hope that it will appeal to everyone concerned with this subject, and that all our readers will find something of benefit to them, or to the children in their care. We have included:

  • information about stammering from early childhood, through school and teen years, into the confirmed adult condition. Stammering can be a disorder that is difficult to understand and we felt that adequate information was basic to the requirements of all readers
  • details of the various therapeutic approaches available. Confusion can arise due to the number of different therapies on offer, and we have tried to bring some order into this situation by dividing the majority of approaches under main headings
  • advice to parents, teachers and carers is a vital part of the book because, especially with small children, the people with whom they are in daily contact are crucial in providing help and understanding
  • practical advice is offered, together with exercises for parents and for teens and adults who stammer
  • the final chapter, entitled 'From Those Who Stammer', is devoted solely to the contributions of clients who were kind enough to send us their experiences of stammering. These contributions range from those of young children to the thoughts of someone aged 68
  • contact addresses, books and web sites are provided in a section at the end of the book

We have focused on giving correct, up-to-date information and tried to ensure that the content is free of jargon, and of practical use. Happy reading!

This is a fuller version of an article in the Summer 2008 edition of Speaking Out, page 9.

'Stammering: Advice for all ages' is available to borrow from the BSA members library.

"An excellent book... informative and accessible, providing clear descriptions of stammering and practical advice for parents and for people who stammer. Particularly impressive is the section that gives voice to the thoughts and ideas of people who stammer, bringing home the reality of this distressing communication disorder."
Cherry Hughes, Education Officer, British Stammering Association

"This excellent little book will certainly help people who stammer and parents of stammering children. It sets out the complex nature of stammering without oversimplifying the issue, outlines practical strategies, and highlights further resources. Byrne and Wright are esteemed UK specialists and their advice is spot on."
Jan Anderson, Scottish Development Manager, British Stammering Association Scotland