Written by Edward Shvets
Now available in a new printing, the Stuttering Foundation’s seminal Advice to Those Who Stutter once more provides the impetus for conscious change in the lives of those who stutter. Recognized speech pathologists integrate pearls of anecdotal advice from their personal stories of overcoming the difficulties that accompanied their stuttering with empirical strategies for improvement. With this original publication, the Stuttering Foundation, in principle and precedent, shows that the person who stutters is able to not only improve their speaking ability but also enjoy life to the fullest.
In essence, this book insists that someone does not have to suffer because of their stuttering as long as they are willing to dedicate the necessary work toward and stay realistic about their speech goals. For the person who hopes that “at least one of these stuttering experts [has] found a quick, easy, magical cure for [their] distressing disorder,” as Dr. Charles Van Riper stresses in the final chapter of the book, it is paramount to understand that “no such panacea exists and that, if you want relief from your miseries, you’ve got to earn that relief by making some real changes in the way you react to your stuttering” (151). The proper perspective, each writer concludes, is central in addressing stuttering.
To that end, this book is not an encyclopedia but a guide for practical development on the individual level. It does not address aspects like the “cause” of stuttering because, to paraphrase Dr. Frederick P. Murray’s metaphor, the “fire consuming a house” will not “extinguish itself merely because the match that started it has been discovered in the adjacent field” (36). In other words, you are the active agent in your relation with stuttering and not vice versa. Like the authors, who Dr. Van Riper reiterates “were [at one time] severe stutterers,” the reader can learn to “talk well and live well” (151). Today, this book has the same purpose Malcolm Fraser declared in the original foreword in 1972: the Stuttering Foundation is “publishing [it] in your interest” and with “the hope that you will make use of it.”
From the Fall 2021 Magazine