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'Current issues in stuttering research and practice', edited by Ratner and Tetnowski

Roberta Williams | 01.12.2006

Review by Roberta Williams, senior lecturer in dysfluency at City University.

Current issues in stuttering research and practice, edited by Nan Bernstein Ratner & John TetnowskiThis book captures an overview of current research and practice and is likely to be of great interest to a wide audience including people who stutter, practitioners and students. It was written in a very accessible style with the consumer firmly at the centre of any debate. It is a collection of papers reflecting the 2003 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) special interest division 4 (fluency and fluency disorders) meeting.

The first chapter set up the themes for the book, such as the need for evidence based practice, how progress in fluency therapy is defined and the nature of student training. In chapter 2, Conture weaves together previously disparate information into a theory of stuttering which I felt formed a comprehensive picture, making sense of the many 'causal' anomalies. Chapter 3 described how to integrate the 'hot topic' of evidence based practice into clinical decision making. In Chapter 4, St Louis used a hypothetical scenario to examine the usefulness of stuttering assessments while Nicoline Ambrose provided a comprehensive explanation of the information required for parent counselling; a very useful resource for the student speech and language therapist as well as interested parents. Bernstein Ratner and Guitar discussed the issues around early intervention, and provided an illuminating description of 'watch and see', family centred and parent administered therapies. Manning wrote a fascinating review of past therapies describing also the indecision about causes of stuttering, its variability, the stigma attached to it and the nature of 'relapse'. This was followed by an excellent overview of Montgomery's integrated approach - from the hub to the spoke.

Technical support for stuttering was reviewed by Baker, and the neuropharmacology of stuttering by Ludlow. It is a long time since a text contained these areas in such depth and the former is particularly relevant at this point in time. The final chapter compared the history and nature of self help groups in America with their growth in the UK, discussing challenges such as the status of stuttering in the curriculum in the United States and the development of services.

I found the book very useful and interesting and would recommend it very highly. It offered an excellent review of developments and practice, always with a strong emphasis on the need for good research.

'Current issues in stuttering research and practice', edited by Nan Bernstein Ratner & John Tetnowski. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

From the Winter 2006 issue of 'Speaking Out', page 19