Speech Correction: Principles and Methods

By C. Van Riper | Go to book overview
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13
The Treatment of Stuttering

The Problem of Stuttering

In Chapter IV we defined stuttering as the disorder characterized by blockings, prolongations, or repetitions of words, syllables, sounds, or mouth postures, all of which (together with the contortions or devices used to avoid, postpone, disguise, start, or release their speech abnormality) produce interruptions and breaks in the rhythmic flow of speech. This is admittedly more of a description than a definition, and it indicates the complexity of the disorder. In its mildest form, its possessor is often entirely unaware of the interruptions. In very severe stutterers, the interruptions are accompanied by contortions so grotesque that they almost resemble spastic and epileptic seizures. In adult stutterers, an almost infinite variety of stuttering symptoms may be found, although in young children, when the disorder first tends to manifest itself, the symptoms are largely confined to the above-mentioned repetitions and prolongations. These seem to be the only symptoms common to all stutterers.

Stuttering is no respecter of persons. It afflicts king and beggar, savant and ignoramus, Hebrew and Hottentot, virtuous and sinful, and all other categories you might choose. Moses himself is said to have stuttered, and we know that King Charles I, Charles Lamb, and Charles Darwin (to select but three of the millions of people who have experienced this disorder) were likewise afflicted. There are

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