Stories and Professional Wisdom – This is the first publication from
StutterTalk – a well known free podcast service, which openly discusses
stuttering and features people actually stuttering on air. The StutterTalk
podcast has published more than 350 episodes over the past five years and
features people who stutter (PWS), therapists, parents, academics and all kinds
of people. Stuttering: Inspiring Stories
and Professional Wisdom is a collection of excellent essays, edited by
Peter Reitzes, David Reitzes with editing help from Nan Bernstein Ratner, Bob Quesal, J.
Scott Yaruss, Walter H Manning and others. Information is up to date, authentic
and comes from diverse sources. The intended audience is PWS, their families,
colleagues, friends, therapists and graduate students. This book is available
as a paperback for $12.99 and as an e-book or download for $5.99 (INR 340).. http://stuttertalk.com/stutterbook/
heading Inspiring Stories and are
written by PWS (one from a spouse of a PWS). The final nine chapters (Professional Wisdom) are written from
reputed teachers and clinicians – people who day and night worry about how to
make therapy more effective and relevant to the needs of PWS. We all – PWS and
therapists, will learn something useful in this book. By the way, Peter is a
speech-language pathologist (SLP) and a PWS. In the United States, many PWS turn to
speech therapy as a career, in search of lasting solutions and also to offer
better support to other PWS.
The inspiring stories are honest, funny, full of insights and wisdom and
represent a diverse view point. In “Stuttering: A Spouse’s View”, Mandy Finstad
offers this advice to PWS, based on her own life, “Stuttering, like an individual’s
quirks, habits, practices, personality traits and the like, is managed by both partners—albeit in very different
ways—within a marriage or relationship.”
Another essay by a practicing Attorney, Aonghus Heatley, “Stuttering Silently
and Speaking Openly About Stuttering” is a deeply honest and close look at work
place issues such job interviews, Mr. Heatley comes up with amazing personal
solutions and perspectives on being a person who stutters in the workplaces.
Many PWS often develop a tunnel vision, which excludes all other diversities
and issues of humanity except ours – stuttering! I was very happy to see a
contribution from the LGBT community written by Roger Roe on “Passing Twice.” The
essay explores life experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
people who also happen to stammer. I think “straight” stutterers can learn a
lot about acceptance of who they are and being open about stuttering from LGBT
community. A must read!
The Professional Wisdom section has
nine well researched and referenced essays. Of course, I wish a few of the
writers could use a language and style suited more to lay users. For example
“Discovering Effective Clinicians Using Evidence from the Common Factors Model”
uses some technical language and a dense style of sharing facts. Oh,
fortunately it has a summary at the end for us mortals! However, most of the 25
chapters are written for the general public.
Each essay has something to offer on a diverse range of topics including
clinical therapy, personal paths forward (self therapy or self help),
acceptance, disability & law, fluency, self help groups, role of listening
in self help meetings, mindfulness, common mistakes made by clinicians and much
trend in speech-language pathology, at least in the USA. Clinicians are beginning to understand
and acknowledge the importance of collaborating with PWS and are willing to
help PWS explore alternatives to help them live a meaningful life with some stuttering
My personal favorite is the first essay in the Professional Wisdom section by J. Scott Yaruss on the topic of acceptance.
A common question from PWS is: If I had to accept my stammering, why should I
see a therapist or participate in self help? A counter query would be: If you don’t
accept that you have a problem, why would you work on it?
So, it seems that acceptance is like a Zen Koan: no apparent, logical solution.
But Yaruss, an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh
and a leading researcher, takes up all these tough questions and answers them
very objectively. Let me not spoil the fun by sharing his conclusions.
and your path. This contributes to the free podcast service that Stuttertalk is
running. Buy an additional copy and present it to your local self help group,
your spouse or partner, local library. Gift a copy to your boss. It is worth
it. And don’t forget to write about it in social media! Use this link on
Facebook and Twitter for the most updated book information: http://stuttertalk.com/stutterbook/
MBBS, PGC- H&FW Mgmt )