This compelling book about stuttering, written by HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., is written for people who stutter, parents of children who stutter, and speech-language professionals.
According to Dr. Webster, stuttering is one of the most misunderstood and mistreated of all human disorders. This leaves people who stutter left to wander through a maze of misinformation and resigned to dealing with the stress and humiliation of their speech affliction for the rest of their lives.
Dedicated to the scientific analysis and treatment of stuttering since 1972, Webster’s award-winning Hollins Communications Research Institute has treated more than 6,400 people who stutter from around the world. Ninety-three percent of HCRI program participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day therapy program and 70-75 percent maintain fluent speech for the long term. These documented results are in stark contrast to the 25-30 percent long-term success rates reported with traditional stuttering therapies.
Now, with his extensive work in the research and treatment of stuttering, Dr. Webster provides a fascinating, in-depth look at his experiences in the field. He explains how stuttering can be scientifically defined, how the analysis of events involved in stuttering lead to theories about a potential cause, and how his nonprofit HCRI uses cutting-edge science to treat stuttering with greater objectivity, reliability, and overall effectiveness.
He begins the book's exploration into stuttering by going back sixty thousand years to the dawn of anatomically modern humans. Along the path to a better understanding of this perplexing problem, which impacts 66 million people worldwide, Dr. Webster points out the experts’ disappointing failure to define stuttering.
The problem with stuttering, Dr. Webster says, is that stuttering is not the problem. That is, the repetitions, prolongations, and voice blockages that we label as stuttering have their origins earlier in time, in faulty muscle contractions. He suggests the muscle misbehavior that yields stuttering may be the result of faulty sound feedback to the speaker’s auditory system.
A final chapter on improvements that are being pursued in treatment, along with the expansion of therapy availability, illustrates how committed Dr. Webster and his HCRI team are to opening doors for those dealing with one of humankind’s oldest and most unusual disorders.
Dr. Webster’s purpose for this book is to encourage more critical thinking and awareness about the problem of stuttering. Stuttering texts and books written from a clinical perspective fail to provide clear guidance that stutterers can use to improve fluency. In addition, many stuttering books on the market today are simply the personal stories of stutterers who believe their experiences and their causal attempts to explain stuttering will benefit others. But, their explanations do not meet rigorous standards of scientific method.
Dr. Webster’s book on stuttering shows how a more robust understanding of the problem can help lead to better fluency outcomes – and enhanced lives – for people who stutter.