Book review by Jonathan West.
The majority of books that I have read about stammering have been American publications from the Stuttering Foundation of America, so it was nice to be asked to read and review a British publication on the matter. 'Let's Talk About Stammering' was first published by Renée Byrne in 1983. Now nearly nine years later she has updated the book taking into account the advances that have occurred in speech therapy in the intervening years.
The result is a book positively bristling with clear jargon-free advice to parents, teachers, and friends of stammerers as well as those afflicted with the problem themselves. Indeed the advice given to parents is particularly important - as I am sure that the earlier a stammer can be detected and dealt with - accordingly the better the chances of nipping it in the bud before it takes a hold.
Adolescents have plenty to worry about without the added handicaps of a stammer. Renée devotes a chapter to the special problems facing teenagers and answers many of the questions that give them most concern.
Adults are advised to get to know their stammers more and develop techniques for airing and confronting the anxieties their stammer brings. Help is available to all those who feel they need it and the book gives clear details of what is available and how to go about finding it.
But it is the title of the book that reveals the essential message that Renée is trying bring to stammerers both young and old - we should all talk about our stammering more - not only to each other but to family and friends. We all tend to be unwilling to discuss out stammer with others, in the belief that they won't be interested or understand the problem. However I'm sure we would all be amazed how interested people are and more importantly how it helps us come to terms with our stammer. Let's take the title of the book to heart and talk more about our stammering.
From the Winter 1991 issue of 'Speaking Out'.
Book published by the British Stammering Association, 1991. 130 pages.