The following appeared as a Short Course in Emergency and Office Pediatrics, 1996-1997 (Exact references included for Parts I, II, and III.). It is shared with permission of the publisher, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc; the editor, Fred Bomback, M.D.; and the author, Karin B. Wexler, Ph.D. Dr. Wexler is on faculty in the Department of Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York. Dr. Bomback is on faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at Babies' and Children's Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York. Emergency and Office Pediatrics is published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2 Madison Avenue, Larchmont, New York 10538. Personal subscription rates are $65 in USA and $99 overseas (air), including postage and handling.

Bomback, Fred, Emergency and Office Pediatrics, Volume 9, Number 3, 1996, p. 63.


Treating Children Who Stutter

In this issue, Dr. Karin Wexler begins a three-part series on childhood stuttering. Dr. Wexler, a nationally recognized expert on stuttering, has devoted virtually her entire professional career and clinical practice to the early identification andprevention of stuttering, as well as to the evaluation and therapy of children, adolescents, and adults who stutter. She is in charge of a Fluency Evaluation and Therapy Program at Teachers College, Columbia University; is the author of numerous publications on stuttering; has taught graduate courses on stuttering to professionals since 1978; and maintains an active clinical practice in Rockland County, New York, and New York City.

Dr. Wexler is one of a few speech-language pathologists who is truly a specialist in fluency disorders and their treatment. Most speech-language pathologists have very little clinical expertise in dealing with patients who stutter. Many well-meaning practicitioners appear to operate totally in the dark with respect to fluency therapy, creating a loss of confidence in their patients and their families and often exacerbating a potentially correctable condition. As one who has had contact with numerous persons who stutter, as well as with many speech pathologists, I can attest to the fact that stuttering therapy given by one who is unqualified to do so can be severely damaging to all concerned. I cannot recommend too strongly that, when referring a child with a fluency disorder for diagnosis and therapy, a specialist in the area of childhood fluency disorders be chosen. This is a formidable task as fluency disorder specialists are few and far between. But it is worth the effort, as children and adults who stutter, their families and support organizations for people who stutter, frequently report negative and sometimes horrible experiences with clinicians who are totally incompetent in dealing with stuttering and who lack a stuttring specialist to confer with. Speech pathologists who are not secure in dealing with those who stutter owe it to their patients and referring physicians to help find someone who is.

Fred Bomback, M.D.

  • Part I
  • Part II -- Evaluation
  • Part III -- Therapy
    added with permission, September 23, 1997