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Understanding and Controlling Stuttering A Comprehensive New Approach Based on the Valsalva Hypothesis Paperback – April 13, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1929773015 ISBN-10: 1929773013 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Natl Stuttering Assn; 2nd edition (April 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929773013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929773015
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A well-researched book which benefits from the author's personal experience of stammering. Dr. Trudy Stewart, Speaking Lucid, easy-to-read You learn to see your stuttering in an entirely new light. . . . Bill has identified and demystified one of the key elements of the [stuttering] system - the speech block - and he does it in a way that makes perfect sense. --John Harrison, Letting Go

From the Publisher

Most people who stutter can also speak fluently some of the time. The author of this book believes that their problem is not a lack of ability to speak, but rather an interference with that ability - usually when the words seem most important. This book shows how a stutterer's blocks are powered by the body's Valsalva mechanism - a neurologically coordinated combination of muscles in the larynx, mouth, chest, and abdomen. According to the Valsalva Hypothesis, stutterers may have developed the habit of activating the Valsalva mechanism in an attempt to force out words when they anticipate difficulty in speaking. Although this may feel like the "right" thing to do, it results in forceful blockages of airflow by the mouth or larynx and interference with phonation - two of the basic, underlying elements of stuttering. Therefore, the harder one struggles against stuttering, the worse the blocks become. Over time, these behaviors become deeply rooted in the nerve pathways of the brain, making them extremely difficult to change.

This book lays out a comprehensive plan to improve fluency by controlling the Valsalva mechanism and breaking the Valsalva-Stuttering Cycle. Unlike other therapies, which may have an indirect effect on various aspects of the Valsalva-Stuttering Cycle, Valsalva Control focuses directly on the Valsalva mechanism itself and attacks all aspects of the Cycle - both physical and psychological. It includes specific advice and exercises related to breathing, phonating, and relaxing muscles of the Valsalva mechanism. The goal is not artificially produced fluency, but speech that is free and natural.

The book does not rely on simplistic gimmicks. Instead, its approach requires that we first gain a thorough understanding of what stuttering is and why we do it. Applying insights gained from the Valsalva Hypothesis, it analyzes the symptoms and circumstances of stuttering, the development of stuttering in childhood, the influence of heredity and neurological factors, and the physical and psychological conditions that tend to increase or reduce stuttering. It then discusses the strengths and weaknesses of existing therapies (including drugs and electronic devices), points out the elements that many therapies have in common, shows why most stutterers tend to relapse, and indicates ways in which therapies might be made more effective. (What one reader called "repetitive" was merely the brief restatement of the Valsalva Hypothesis in relation to each of these many aspects of stuttering, in order to make the discussions easier to follow.)

It would be presumptuous to claim that people will be "cured" of stuttering just by reading a book. Nevertheless, this book is sure to provide a deeper understanding of stuttering, as well as effective tools to reduce one's struggle in speaking.


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Customer Reviews

The book contains useful charts, diagrams and suggestions for self-therapy that are clear and concise.
Jeff Klayman
All I can say that if you read this book you WILL know why it is the best, and why other books are just there to be read with no real good help.
NILESH MOTI
I am severe stutterer and exercises described in this book improved my fluency and I hope this improvement will continue.
Jiri Mazoch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the best book I've ever read on stuttering. It explains the physical components of stuttering in an easy-to-understand way and provides invaluable exercises, suggestions, and information. The author has really done his research and never condescends to the reader. This is not a quick fix solution, but provides tools to make a lasting change.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Katrina on September 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
William Parry is a genious. Not only did this book keep me on the edge of my seat, and even made me laugh, but it also revealed the secret of stuttering. This book gave me the tools for fluency. For once, I am in control of what I say. I can talk on the phone, give presentations in class, et cetera... without even thinking about how I'm going to get certain words out. Sometimes it feels like a dream. I will continue to do my excercises (half hour a day) so I never have to wake up!I recommend this book to anyone who stutters or is in the speech pathology/communications field.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By beatniksoul on December 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Mr. Parry has written a book that targets the specific physical act [or acts] that every stutterer performs when they block.
I am a mild stutterer, [most people don't know because of word substitution and other avoidance tactics] but can become severe depending on the situation.
The explanations and descriptions given to describe our experience are absolutely accurate; you will find yourself nodding your head in agreement.
I experimented with the relaxation techniques given on the web site and experienced immediate positive results...not "cure" or instant fluency, but the realization that my speech can be controlled. If the work is put in, it is my belief the exercises discussed in the book, as well as a change in attitude [also discussed in the book] can help a significant amount of stutterers. I highly recommend this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jiri Mazoch on May 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I read about Valsalva hypothesis for the first time in an article by Mr. William Parry on the internet, I decided to buy the book "Understanding & Controlling Stuttering" to learn more about this mechanism. The book is very well written from the beginning till end. The explanation of the speech mechanism, the basics of speech, speech functions of the brain, the Valsalva mechanism and all information are written in intelligible terms. The exercises for Valsalva and speech control are very well proposed. I was always puzzled why I spoke fluently in some situations and was not able to say a single word in other ones. I knew I gave much effort to my speech. The Valsalva hypothesis is the most precise description of my stuttering I have ever encountered. I am severe stutterer and exercises described in this book improved my fluency and I hope this improvement will continue. This is the most interesting book about stuttering I have read and I recommend it to anyone who stutters.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By H. Dhillon on April 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book changed the way I look at my stuttering. It makes riveting reading. The author has clearly spent an enormous amount of time, effort and energy in trying to get
a better understanding of his oun stutter, and in the process, formulated a hypothesis that makes a lot of sense. He offers explanations for questions like
- why do more men stutter than women?
- why do most stutters sing fluently?
- why do most stutters have a problem saying their name?
He breaks down the process of speach into it's components and deals with each one in turn. He explains why a lot of therapies enable stutters to (for a time period, at least) speak more fluently. Regardless of which therapy one is using - be it
prolonged speach, "air flow" technique, "costal breathing" etc etc - this book will help in providing a better understanding.
There are exercises at the back and a recommended daily routine program.
I've read many books on stuttering, but this one is by far the best. A very comprehensive, thought out and well-researched book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mihir Karia on April 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether you are a speech therapist/pathologist or a stutterer, I highly recommend that you buy this book.
It demystifies several aspects of stuttering, including the speech blocks that are so often experienced. It explains the neurological confusion between speech and the valsalva mechanism and how this affects disfluency. It explains why males predominate the stuttering population by pointing out sexual differences in the valsalva mechanism.
Mr. William Parry also provides a self-therapy program called Valsalva Control, which can be effectively used to control stuttering.
After reading this book, for the first time, I was able to get non-stutterers to personally experience the closing of the larynx and other physiological symptoms of a stuttering block created by the valsalva mechanism.
This book gave me the "Ah-ha! That explains so much." feeling.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bojan Zivancevic on October 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book hits the spot. For the first time in my life (I'm 34 years old) I finally realized what is happening to me, especially when we talk about the physical aspect of stuttering. And it reveals the method I believe to be effective in coping with the stutter "beast".

Everything now fits into place, the path seems clear enough, although it won't be an easy one.

The book also deals with the psychological aspects and that is the right way too.

I don't want to bore anybody with this review anymore. Just get the book, it's worth it. 5 stars without hesitation. Congratulations to the author, he made a fantastic effort in creating this book. One must admire the man who has read, learned and experimented so much in order to know more about this problem and to get rid of it.
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