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Language Issues

tiny book Understanding Stammering or Stuttering
by Elaine Kelman and Alison Whyte
( Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
A book that explains stammering in a concise, accessible manner and uses the voices of children and young people to explain how it feels from their viewpoint, clears up the myths that surround it and offers a wealth of advice as to how parents, teachers and friends can help and support, is surely a real treasure. This book does all that and more. Feelings are a vital element in that support, both for those who stammer and their parents; we share these not only through their comments but there are also illuminatory diagrams of various kinds.
    We learn what therapy entails, both getting help in the first instance and what to expect in speech therapy, its components and possible outcomes, as well as some other potentially helpful therapies. The final section provides an annotated list of other useful organisations and websites.
    That it is the voices of children and young people who have a stammer that speak out loud and clear throughout is particularly apposite, for as the authors (both with considerable experience in the field– one a speech therapist, the other a health writer and parent whose son had therapy for his stammer) “the child who stammers is the only expert’. Michael Palin says in his foreword the two most important words in the treatment of stammering are understanding and listening. A third is individual.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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"" Can I tell you about Selective Mutism?
by Maggie Johnson and Alison Wintgens
( Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
In this shortish, very readable fictional account subtitled ‘A guide for friends, family and professionals’ (written by two professional experts in the field) Hannah talks about selective mutism from her own viewpoint. Her invitation to readers offers an excellent opportunity to learn about what this means and what it feels like both emotionally and physically to have SM.
    Very importantly too, it offers ways in which they (people) can help and support be they friends, family, teachers, classroom assistants, classmates, lunch-time supervisors; in fact anybody who might come in contact with a child with SM. Although written as continuous narrative, the book is helpfully divided into sections each being given a page number in the contents at the front. In addition there are (is) an opening poem by Sir Paul McCartney, some particularly apposite pointers and suggestions for teachers, a section for parents and a final list recommending books (for both adults and children), DVDs, resources and organisations to consult for further information or help. As the book is aimed, in the first instance at younger readers, the text is interspersed with line drawings by Robyn Gallow. These convey a great deal about Hannah and her SM with a gentle empathetic humour.  
    I wish I’d had this book when I first started out in teaching and I definitely would want to put a copy into the hands of every member of the support staff in any school.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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