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'Stammering: a practical guide for teachers and other professionals' by Rustin, Cook, Botterill, Hughes and Kelman

Rosemarie Hayhow | 01.03.2003

Book review by Rosemarie Hayhow.

Stammering: a practical guide for teachers and other professionals This book is written primarily for those who work in schools although parents of school-age children who stammer may also find it useful. It contains information on the nature of stammering, its effect on the developing child and therapy options. The chapter on 'an educational perspective' discusses how government educational targets in speaking and listening can be problematic and argues for a shift of emphasis to more general communication skills.

Detailed information about stammering, therapy and ways of helping children in class is given in three chapters that deal with the early years, primary and secondary ages. Throughout the book example activities are coded with reference to theses age groups. Although dividing children in this way leads to some repetition it has the benefit of making it easy for readers to be selective. The discussion of the different ways stammering can develop and affect a child in school is useful background knowledge and should increase teachers' awareness.

The individual nature of stammering is stressed throughout the book, so it focuses on strategies rather than ready-made solutions. Work on social communication skills is presented in a hierarchy from observation to negotiation, with reference to the particular difficulties that may result from stammering. The appendix contains photocopy pages of key information as well as sheets for the teacher or child to complete. The A4 format with large type and plentiful headings makes the book easy to dip into. It could be a useful resource for therapists to inform and support their work with teachers. I would encourage schools to buy a reference copy and then discuss relevant issues and strategies with teachers who have contact with a stammering child.

'Stammering: a practical guide for teachers and other professionals', Lena Rustin, Frances Cook, Willie Botterill, Cherry Hughes, Elaine Kelman  David Fulton publishers, 2001

From the Spring 2003 issue of 'Speaking Out', reprinted with permission from Bulletin of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, August 2002, pp. 15-16.