Stuttering: A Short History of a Curious Disorder

By Marcel E. Wingate | Go to book overview
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The counseling afforded by speech therapists should consist predominantly of advice; advice broadly based on what the therapist should know about speech, and about stuttering as a disorder of speech, and on knowledge specific to stuttering that has been objectively determined and corroborated over its lengthy history. The advice must be forthright regarding especially the matters of no known cause and no guarantee of cure. These admissions should lead quickly to confession of the general inadequacy and untenability of the many "theories" of stuttering. It follows that any statement representing any such point of view should be adequately identified as such, accompanied with pertinent caveat.

There are a number of well-documented and supportable items of knowledge about stuttering, revealed in this history, that should be included in the advice imparted to stutterers or their families. A special set of such items is listed under "Basics" in this chapter. Developing a complete list of such items might turn out to be a worthwhile undertaking. Culatta and Goldberg ( 1995: p. 156- 157) suggest that disclosure laws may soon raise legal issues in regard to stuttering treatment. They give as an example an instance in which failure to have disclosed the known hereditary factor might, in time to come, result in a lawsuit. One should add that even now someone may well find sufficient basis for litigation in the serious misrepresentations that are readily found in various "theory"-based approaches to management, and the counseling proffered.

The issue is discussed earlier (see Chapter 8). The reader is reminded that this demand contradicts Johnson's earlier criticism of categorization. It also seems pertinent to recall here that the same authors who find bona fide values of .90 not good enough to indicate reliability are nonetheless willing to claim even questionably derived values no greater than .60 as being tantamount to a value of 1.00 for the notion of "consistency."
As noted, first the humours doctrine, then anatomy-physiology.
That is, the psychology of the person, to contrast with particular specialties within the broad framework of psychology, such as sensation and perception; physiological psychology, comparative psychology, etc.
Consider, for instance, the extent of "counseling" afforded by bartenders, omitting for the moment such obvious sources as the clergy, best friends, etc. The fact that such counseling may miss the mark is beside the point. In a similar vein, the concepts of conditioning and reinforcement have been readily assimilated by many lay persons. Actually, the essential principles were well appreciated and employed by animal trainers long before the academic nomenclature was applied to them.
As noted previously, earlier accounts mentioned some link between emotional arousal and stutter occurrence, but those accounts included positive as well as negative emotion. Exclusive emphasis on negative emotion is a hallmark of twentieth-century psychological accounts.


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Stuttering: A Short History of a Curious Disorder


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