Auditory function and cerebral dominance

PERSPECTIVE

No one is sure what causes stuttering, but it is an age-old problem that may have its origins in the way our brains evolved to produce speech and language. Its sudden appear­ ance in some children is triggered when they try to talk using

their just-emerging speech and language skills. Its many variations and manifestations are determined by individual learning patterns, personality, and temperament. It also pro­ vides lessons about human nature: the variety of responses that stuttering provokes in cultures around the world is a reflection of the many ways in which humans deal with indi­ vidual differences.

This description of stuttering makes it seem like a very complicated problem-one that will take a long time to learn about. It’s true that you co uld spend a lifetime and still not know everything there is to know about stuttering. But you don’t need to understand everything in order to help people who stutter. If you read this book criticallyand carefully, you will get a basic understanding of stuttering and a foundation for evaluating and treating people who stutter and their fam ­ ilies. And once you start working with people who stutter, your understanding and ability can expand exponentially.

If you continue to work with stuttering, you will soon outgrow this book and begin to make your own discoveries. You will experience the satisfaction of helping children, ado­ lescents, and adults regain an ability to communicate easily. Someday you may even write about your therapy procedures and your assessment of their effectiveness. Those of us wh o have spent many years engaged in stuttering research and treatment all began where you are right now,at the threshold of an exciting and rewarding profession.

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