Do You Stutter?
‘BALBUS BLÆSUS! Balbus Blæsus!’ Had I, a stutterer, lived at the time of Augustus Cæsar, that mouth-filling phrase would probably have been more familiar to me than my own name. Latin nicknames, especially those for the afflicted, usually became surnames and were borne throughout life. The ‘Balbus Blæsus’ label, so alliterative and so easily chanted, must have been peculiarly satisfying to those children of ancient Rome who did not stutter, and thoroughly unpleasant to those who did. In that age of eloquence there were, no doubt, as many poor devils seeking a cure for stuttering as there are today.
The quest for such a cure is probably as old as history itself. Cuneiform tablets have been discovered bearing prayers for deliverance from a ‘ thick and faltering tongue.’ The ‘Balbus Blæsus’ of Cæsar’s day could indeed have found cures for stuttering described in the Greek and Roman literature of his time, but unfortunately, then as now, the authorities did not seem to agree. Hippocrates had thought stuttering due to a chronic diarrhœa, for which he recommended irritating applications which proved more productive of ulcers than of free speech. Aristotle had blamed abnormalities of the tongue for the disorder. Celsus had recommended massage of that organ and the eating of noxious spices. Satyrus, the actor, had cured Demosthenes of stuttering and defective r sounds by prescribing pebbles in the mouth, leaden plates on the chest, and a great deal of talking while running uphill. Galen mildly insisted upon cauterizing the mouth.
These pleasant practices, if they did not cure the patient, at least drove him away and freed the physician from his embarrassing presence. Herodotus, the predecessor of all of these, mentions a certain Pythian priestess who solved a similar problem — and much more neatly — by recommending that one Battos, stammering son of Polymnestros, emigrate south to Libya and never return. Many a modern physician will probably envy her that solution.
For the stutterers and stammerers are with society still — usually as still as possible. We who stutter speak only when we must. We hide our defect, often so successfully that even our intimates are surprised when, in an unguarded moment, a word suddenly runs away with our tongues and we blurt and blat and grimace and choke until finally the spasm is over and we open our eyes to view the wreckage. We have many ingenious tricks for disguising or minimizing our blocks. We look ahead for ‘Jonah’ sounds and words, so called because they are unlucky and because we envy the whale his ease in expelling them. We dodge the ‘Jonah’ words when we can, substituting non-feared words in their places or hastily shifting our thought until the continuity of our speech becomes as involved as a plate of spaghetti. We postpone the attempt on these ‘stumble words’ as long as possible by pretending to think, by licking our lips, by sucking a pipe, by a reflective ‘er’ or ‘um,’ or by a thousand other devices too devious to mention. We go back to the beginning of the sentence and get set for an impetuous flood of words which perchance may carry us past the difficult one. We use odd little gestures of the face or body to time the moment of speech attempt, and these often grow into contortions so bizarre that our listeners think us epileptic. In spite of all our care, we often find ourselves in a block so intense that all our energy is needed to force the word out. Those of us who are mild stutterers manage somehow to accomplish the communication which is the lifeblood of social and economic existence. Those of us who stutter on almost every word, and whose blocks are prolonged and grotesque, hunt for those rare havens where it is possible to live without talking. I know a stutterer who is a professional hermit in the Ozarks. Another, a Ph.D. who made a brilliant showing in his chosen scientific field, is a night watchman. When such nonspeaking occupations cannot be found, we rebel and attack society criminally or retreat and contemplate suicide. R. Val McNight, in discussing her own stuttering problem, utters thoughts that are familiar to most of our unhappy fellowship: —
The predicament in which fate had placed me, and the attitude of the majority of people, caused life to seem almost unbearable. I became antagonistic and rebellious. I cursed everything, especially the force that made me. I drew away from contacts, even from those persons who seemed to understand and sympathize, and stayed as much as I could to myself. In this seclusion I did not grow passive, but my turbulence became more reflective, and I pondered on questions of a social nature, as: ‘Since society permits to the handicapped person no desirable position, it has no right to demand existence of him. Since it does demand his existence, it is as responsible as is the handicapped for the handicapped’s adjustment.’
Many normal speakers express surprise and disbelief when they are told that there are almost two million stutterers in the United States. One superintendent of a large school system declared his myopia by insisting that in sixteen years of teaching he had never seen a single stutterer. The stutterer, however, finds his brethren everywhere because he recognizes the tricks of the brotherhood. He turns up the volume of his radio to listen for those slight noises that betray King George’s short spasms. He smiles wryly to watch the head jerk with which the filling station attendant attempts the first word of his question. Seldom does this recognition lead to discussion or the sharing of experiences. We prefer the recognition of another’s handicap to the confession of our own.
It is probably because of this chronic hatred of exposure that the speech cripple has been neglected. Society accepts its responsibility for the deaf and blind, the crippled and mentally defective. The state subsidizes their treatment; the medical and educational professions coöperate and even compete in providing the assistance which they admittedly deserve. But the speech cripple, possessing a handicap which grows increasingly distressing as life becomes more complex, is rather generally ignored. In the public schools the additional annual cost for treating each deaf, blind, crippled, or mentally defective child ranges from $250 to $500; the additional cost for treating each speech defective is only $10. Nevertheless, few school systems employ speech-correction teachers; the teaching of talking is not considered to be the school’s responsibility, and, unfortunately, the speech defectives cannot speak for themselves.
This general neglect by the professions which might otherwise solve the stutterer’s problem is not shared by the speech defective’s next-door neighbors. A thousand and one suggestions are given to the stutterer’s parents or to the victim himself. The suggestions are always bolstered by anecdotes of their miraculous efficacy. The stutterer is told to take a deep breath before speaking, a trick which often grows into habitual symptoms of gasping and apoplectic choking. One Abu Ali Husain Avicenna, an Arabian philosopher of the tenth century, first proposed that remedy. It has failed for one thousand years. Many modern physicians recommend the division of the frenum, the little white cord beneath the tongue which almost every person possesses. Ætius, royal physician to Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, was as modern and no doubt as unsuccessful. Present-day stutterers may at least thank their unresponding gods that the medical profession has given up the wholesale tongue slitting which was so much in vogue one hundred years ago. Velpeau made a vertical division; Amussat preferred the horizontal slash; Dieffenbach took out a wedge. The surgical technique was immensely interesting. There were no permanent cures and many deaths. After twenty years of cutting, the method was hastily abandoned. Even the neighbors seldom suggest surgery today.
Other home remedies with which most stutterers become familiar probably stem from Demosthenes’s pebbles — and such suggestions have a long history of uselessness. We are told to put a little wad of cotton or gum under the tongue or to hold the back of the tongue high whenever speaking. Itard (1817) used a little golden or ivory fork to support the tongue. About the year 1800, a Widow Leigh of New York invented what was known as the ‘American Method’ for curing stuttering. Although invested with great secrecy and ritual, the method consisted merely of elevating the tongue during speech. It created so much scientific excitement throughout Europe that it was purchased by the Belgian and Prussian governments. Although repudiated by the French Academy a few years later, the method has survived and is still practised by some of the thousands of quacks who prey upon stutterers today. Some of these pseudo-speech correctionists still employ the curious appliances invented by an American, Robert Bates, in the nineteenth century. A narrow tube of silver curved to fit along the mid-line of the tongue, and a neckbelt and spring placed upon the Adam’s apple, are among these contrivances still being worn by stutterers. Other quacks employ a little wire basket into which the tongue is inserted, still others a pad of cotton beneath the tongue.
Besides the itinerant practitioners who travel from city to city advertising their wares, there are many commercial stuttering schools or speech-correction institutes. Some of them boast of having been in the sorry business for several decades. They always mention their distinguished alumni, who when interviewed prove to be still distinguished by severe stuttering. I, thrice fool and clutching at straws, wars ‘cured’ at three of them, relapsing as soon as I left the premises, though not before an enthusiastic testimonial or two had been signed. I wrote to the sixty stutterers who were in attendance with me at one of the most notorious of these institutes which ‘guaranteed’ a cure, and only one of them was still ‘cured’ after having been away from the institute a month. Most of these commercial schools use powerful suggestion, insist upon distraction techniques such as arm swinging or a peculiar way of speaking, and provide easy speech situations in which few stutterers would have any trouble. The techniques do occasionally produce almost miraculous results, but the stutterer’s freedom from blocks is only temporary, and the disorder usually returns with increased severity.
All of these tricks are being used today by practitioners who care nothing for permanent relief but everything for a temporary release from stuttering. If the devices work, they do so because of their novelty and their property for distracting the stutterer’s attention from feared words and sounds. When they become habitual, they lose this value. Moreover, they depend upon faith, suggestion, and self-confidence for their usefulness, and when the stutterer is confronted by the stuttering associations in his former environment the fears return, the self-confidence so carefully nurtured at the institute collapses like a house of cards, and the stutterer carries his curse again. Seldom does he return to the stuttering school or to the practitioner. Instead he starts chasing again the will-o’-the-wisp. He sardonically recalls the permanent cure of King Charles the First of England, who lost his stuttering with his head. He wishes he could write like Charles Lamb, or think like Charles Darwin, or preach like Charles Kingsley, stutterers all. Since he cannot, he follows the gleam. Somewhere, someone must have found a cure for stuttering.
It is interesting to observe the influence of modern science on the age-old quest. Previously, students of the disorder directed all their efforts to discovering some mysterious specific which would effect a cure for stuttering. In the last forty years they have been more concerned with its nature and causes, a shift in emphasis which proved of inestimable value in solving similarly baffling problems in medicine.
But, as in medical research, thousands of false trails were discovered. Scientists soon noticed that many breathing abnormalities occurred. Some stutterers often attempted to speak while inhaling; others exhaled most of their air before uttering a word; some of them expanded their chests as they contracted their abdomens; some stutterers breathed very shallowly and others breathed too deeply. Ignoring the fact that stuttering was not always accompanied by breathing abnormalities, enthusiasts announced their amazing discoveries and proceeded to devise breathing exercises which would correct the fault and cure the stutterer. Stutterers all over the land breathed rhythmically, diaphragmatically, abdominally, and continued to stutter. Some stragglers still follow this trail, but it has not led to a permanent cure of the old disorder.
Another path which looked very attractive to scientific explorers twenty years ago began with the discovery that the blood often seemed to leave the extremities and suffuse the brain during stuttering. A stutterer who had lost a part of his skull served as the experimental animal in this research. A delicate tambour was fastened over the hole in the skull and the changes in brain volume were recorded. It was discovered that the brain expanded during stuttering. Scientists checked the experiments and extended them, and finally learned that, although the results were correct, they were misleading. Normal speakers experiencing any kind of fear showed the same brain expansion. Since everyone knew that adult stutterers often feared to speak, the path ended in the same old forest.
Another course led into a maze of conflicting experiments with blood chemistry. Still another pathway, along which many psychoanalysts meandered, led into very unpleasant Freudian swamps. The stutterer’s lip protrusions and other symptoms were merely evidences of the ‘fact’ that he had been weaned too early or too late. Some analysts claimed that he had a fixation at the oral-erotic level; others claimed that he was anal-erotic. They argued fiercely, and their victims continued to stutter. A long psychoanalytic search into the depths of this writer’s very subconscious mind finally revealed that at the age of two and a half years he had brought a bouquet of violets to a kindergarten teacher. The analyst seemed discouraged. Hypnosis was also employed by these psychoanalysts, but even this powerful suggestion failed with me. My blocks were reduced in severity but not in frequency, and upon emerging from the trance I found no relief.
A much more scientific investigation, in which hundreds of experiments were performed, concerned the relationship between handedness and stuttering, a relationship which is significant because the half of the brain which controls the preferred hand also seems to be of greatest importance in initiating speech. Many stutterers gave histories of having been changed from leftto right-handedness and vice versa. Others who preferred the right hand and whose parents swore they had never been shifted seemed to be ambidextrous or lefthanded when subjected to laterality tests which did not involve speed, strength, or accuracy, items in which environmental training is paramount. As a consequence of these investigations, hundreds of stutterers were trained in the use of the non-preferred hand, and some of them were cured. The shift-ofhandedness method seemed to work especially well with little children who had not developed any fears of words or shameful attitudes. Although many individuals whose handedness has been changed did not stutter and although many stutterers seemed to have no confused sidedness, greater claims were made for the success of this type of treatment than were deserved. At the present time a shift of handedness is prescribed for certain cases whose histories and laterality tests indicate that it seems to be a true causal factor.
The search for the cause of stuttering has been a difficult one. Most of the cases who come to the college and university speech clinics are adults, and since the disorder usually begins gradually and in early childhood, most of the causes mentioned are the result of hearsay evidence. Stuttering has been attributed to everything from intestinal worms to parental divorce. At the University of Iowa, however, a group of research workers have been carrying on an investigation for several years. Advertising over the radio and in the newspapers for stutterers who had just begun to stutter, these researchers were able to study the disorder at its inception. Often they lived in the home and studied the child for a week or more. Every cause mentioned in the literature on stuttering, even those which seemed ludicrous, was considered as a possibility. Every scrap of information which might seem significant in substantiating any of these causes was faithfully recorded. The investigation has not been completed, but enough cases have been studied to show7 us that there seems to be no one cause of stuttering. Instead there seem to be underlying predisposing causes such as heredity, birth injury, bad fevers during the first two years of life, a shift of handedness, and several others. These underlying or predisposing causes do not seem to be sufficient in themselves to produce stuttering, but when they are set off by a sudden shock, illness, speech conflict, emotional upset, or similar precipitating event, the stuttering symptoms appear. These findings give cold comfort to the millions of stutterers who hoped that after the cause of their disorder was found a cure would follow. They could curse their inheritance, but they could not control it. The search for the cause of stuttering was successful in helping us to prevent the disorder, but that was all.
Research workers are patient people, and when one alley of exploration ends in a cul-de-sac they merely try another approach. The quest for a cure had not solved the stutterer’s problem; neither had the search for a cause. There still remained another point of attack, the nature of the stuttering block itself. Investigators began to study the physiology and psychology of the stutterer at the moment of block. In one of the most crucial of the subsequent experiments, needle electrodes were inserted into the paired jaw muscles of a stutterer, one on each side of his face. While he talked freely or stuttered, the little electrical currents accompanying the nervous impulses to these muscles were amplified and photographed. As one of the guinea pigs in this experiment, I recall not only the needles but also the atmosphere of delighted discovery that filled the laboratory when it was found that during my occasional spells of normal speech the nervous impulses arrived regularly in both the right and left jaw muscles, whereas they came down to only one of those muscles when I stuttered. Other stutterers showed the same results. Normal speakers had perfectly synchronized nervous impulses even when they pretended to stutter very badly.
These findings were very illuminating in view of the fact that all muscles used in speech are paired muscles. Anatomically, we have two tongues and four lips as well as a right and a left vocal cord. In order to move the tongue as a whole, or the jaw as a whole, or both vocal cords with the speed and precision demanded by speech, the nervous impulses must arrive in both halves of each structure at exactly the same time. Evidently this did not occur in stuttering. For an instant, a fraction of a second, one of a pair of speech muscles could not move and so the stutterer was ‘stuck.’ When nervous impulses did not arrive simultaneously in the two jaw muscles, the stutterer’s attempt to lift the jaw was similar to that of an individual lifting a wheelbarrow by one handle. It seemed as though at last the nature of stuttering had been discovered.
Moreover the experiments revealed that, although the nervous impulses did not come down to the paired muscles simultaneously during stuttering, the actual blocking lasted only a small fraction of a second. This was very puzzling to both the experimenter and his stuttering subjects. If the actual neuromuscular block lasted only a fraction of a second, why did the overt stuttering spasm occasionally continue for as long as three or four minutes? Again, why were some stuttering blocks of short and others of long duration? And again, why did no two adult stutterers stutter in the same fashion? Some grunted; some stuck out their tongues; some screwed their faces into horrible grimaces; others choked and jerked about in almost epileptic contortions. Why this plethora of symptoms if the neuromuscular blocks were all alike?
Questions such as these are the bright spots in the lives of research workers. New hypotheses are evolved; new experiments are formulated. In many of the major universities throughout the country ambitious programs were outlined. Money, as always, was scarce, although graduate students and research fellows live happily on very little. Millions are donated for any other disorder, but a farthing is rare endowment indeed for the speech cripple. At any rate, the research is slowly but steadily progressing, and we have already learned some of the answers to our questions.
We now know a good deal about the way stuttering develops. We know that when it first begins, usually about the third or fourth year, the symptoms are the same for all stutterers, consisting of short effortless repetitions and prolongations of a word or part of a word. In this primary stage, the child does not fear words or speech situations. He may repeat the beginning sound of a word thirty and forty times and seem totally unconscious of anything abnormal about his communication. The stuttering seems to come in waves, separated by periods of free speech which last as long as several weeks. He seems to have more trouble when excited, fatigued, competing for speech, or when subjected to any demand for immediate and effective communication. The automatic repetitions and prolongations seem entirely natural to him, even though they drive his parents frantic.
Unfortunately the child is seldom permitted to remain in this primary stage long enough to permit nature to solve the problem through maturation. His parents become worried. They scold him; they forbid his stuttering; they assist him with his difficult words; they betray their anxiety and concern in a thousand ways. He becomes aware of his repetitions and prolongations as very unpleasant, shameful, and thwarting obstacles to communication. He begins to force and struggle to get the word out, and the more he struggles the longer his blocks become. Finding no relief through sheer self-combat, he begins to dodge words he remembers as having been unpleasant. He learns to postpone the speech attempt and to substitute nonfeared words for those beginning with his ‘Jonah’ sounds. The more he avoids, the greater grows his fear. Parents and teachers suggest a hundred vicious tricks for releasing his blocks. They tell him to take a deep breath, and a gasp becomes a habitual part of his symptoms. They tell him to stop and start over again, and he finds himself repeating whole phrases six or seven times before attempting the feared word. They suggest that he use a certain easy word or sound to get started, and by the time he learns that these ‘starters’ do not work they have become part of his stuttering.
The author recalls a man of sixty whose speech was a mysterious jumble of ‘and-do-do-do’ phrases. He would say, ‘I and-do-do-doh think that anddoh-doh-doh I won’t ever and-do-doh outgrow my and-doh stuttering.’ He declared that he had always stuttered in that fashion, but his wife remembered that when they were first married he had used the phrase ‘And don’t you know?’ as a starter. Another stutterer’s bizarre spasm was found to be a habitual swallowing reflex which he had formerly used to clear his throat so that he could say the word. Still another stutterer, who waltzed across the floor when blocking, traced this grotesque performance to a habit of counting one-two-three before speaking a feared word. Head jerks, mouth openings, and many other such symptoms evolve from similar devices to time the moment of speech attempt or to interrupt the repetitions and prolongations. Yes, we now know the nature of the stuttering block and the way in which stuttering symptoms grow, and this knowledge has given us not only a means for preventing but also a method for eradicating the stutterer’s handicap.
If the stutterer is in the primary stage, possessing no fear or shame or awareness of his automatic repetitions and prolongations, a modern speech correctionist will spend several days observing the child in the home, at school, and on the playground. He records all the obvious stuttering symptoms and the conditions which seem to precipitate the blocks in that child’s speech. He then calls a conference of the child’s parents and associates, and maps a detailed and thorough campaign to change the child’s environment so that these precipitating factors do not occur. Every influence tending to make the child aware of his stuttering symptoms is attacked. Every effort is made to improve the physical and mental health. The program often causes somewhat revolutionary modifications of the family’s daily routine, but the results are so striking that few parents refuse to coöperate.
In this primary stage of stuttering the removal of even one disturbing influence may entirely clear up the speech defect. One child stopped stuttering when she no longer needed to battle to be heard above the boisterous conversations of her family; another when he received more attention and affection; another when his parents began to speak more slowly and slackened the hectic tempo of the home life; another when her older sister stopped correcting her speech; and still another when she was permitted to return to her naturally preferred handedness.
Since primary stuttering comes in waves, the child is so handled that he scarcely needs to speak at all during his bad periods. On those days when he is fluent, no opportunity for evoking speech ts overlooked. Various devices are used to distract the primary stutterer’s attention when blocks do occur. The parents themselves may occasionally be asked to stutter in order to demonstrate to the child that he need not be concerned about those little interruptions in his talking. The parents must learn to hide all their own reactions to the child’s symptoms. They must not look away or become tense or irritated or appear obviously ashamed because their offspring does not talk like the average child. They must conduct themselves so that the child feels no pressure for immediate or effective communication when he is with them.
Under such a régime, the repetitions and prolongations in the speech become less frequent and finally disappear altogether. Nature and maturation seem to take care of the problem after the pressure is removed. It is not strange that environmental pressures have such a far-reaching effect upon speech activity, for all coördinations break down under disturbing influences, and the intricate bilateral coördinations used in speech provide no exception. In primary stuttering we treat the parents, not the child. We prevent the development of stuttering, rather than cure the disorder.
Common sense has helped primary stutterers to ‘outgrow’ their stuttering for thousands of years, and, although now systematized and defined, this commonsense approach is nothing new. It is the secondary stutterer who has presented the truly baffling problem and for whom our new knowledge holds the greatest hope. In many ways the treatment of the secondary or chronic stutterer— the one who has fears of words and habitual reactions of avoidance, postponement, and forcing — is directly the opposite of that used for the primary stutterer. The same distraction that proves so helpful to the stutterer who is unaware of his handicap will not break an established habit such as a tongue protrusion or will not permanently eliminate a fear. Eradicating speech conflicts and disturbing influences may help somewhat, but as long as the stutterer remembers his unfortunate speech experiences his speech attempts will produce conflict and disturbance sufficient to break down his bilateral coördinations and set off the grotesque reactions of habitual avoidance, postponement, and contortion. Giving the secondary stutterer an easy environment at home or in the speech clinic will not solve his problem. His symptoms must be treated directly rather than indirectly. He must learn to control his stuttering himself.
If our new knowledge concerning the disorder of stuttering has given us anything, it has given us the concept that the form of the stuttering block can be controlled. It has taught us that it is possible to stutter with a minimum of interruption and abnormality. I, a stutterer, have learned that I can stutter a thousand times a day without once causing a lifted eyebrow or sign of recognition of abnormality in my auditors. I have not entirely eliminated my fears or my blocks and perhaps I never shall, but I have eliminated my handicap. What many of my fellow stutterers and I have done is to control our stuttering rather than to eradicate it. The result seems to be about the same in the end. We talk and talk until our associates occasionally recall — and somewhat wistfully — the period when we were not so fluent. Every feared word that we handle successfully becomes a tiny ‘hooray.’ it is a pleasure indeed to be able to stutter and get away with it.
Learning to stutter effortlessly and without unpleasant reactions does not depend upon any new or miraculous techniques. It is only necessary to follow the well-known laws governing the breaking of habits. For example, one stutterer sets for himself the task of learning to stutter without the habitual wide opening of his mouth to start all feared words. So habitual and unconscious was this reaction that he used it even when attempting words which began with m or b, sounds which demand a firm closure of the lips. In breaking himself of this habit, he was given assignments which brought the habit up to consciousness, broke up its characteristic pattern, disassociated the cues which set it off, weakened the motive which caused it, placed strong penalties upon its occurrence, and substituted other reactions in its place. More than a thousand separate assignments of the above types were given before the stutterer had broken the habit and learned to approach feared words without the involuntary gaping which contributed so much to his handicap. Fortunately, every time he saw a ‘Jonah’ word coming he had an opportunity to give himself an appropriate assignment.
The stutterer carries his laboratory right around with him. All he needs is a word upon which fear and block occur and an intelligent plan of reaction. He experiences failures, but gradually the vicious habits of postponement, timing, and forcing begin to disappear. The stutterer whittles his abnormality down to the neuromuscular block itself, and the latter is of such short duration that it provokes no feelings of unpleasantness, He learns that it is possible to stutter without his old abnormality and interruption. He finds that his auditors do not penalize the blocks that he handles successfully and easily. His fears gradually decrease in intensity and frequency, and even if they do return he has a method for drawing their sting.
Thus, by recognizing the contours of some of the pieces, we are gradually solving the jigsaw puzzle of stuttering. Even if the neuromuscular blocks are uncontrollable and cannot be eliminated (a thesis which we optimists refuse to accept) they are known to be very short in duration. Those blocks themselves cannot be considered very much of a handicap. On the other hand, the stutterer’s reactions to the fear or experience of these blocks are probably responsible for nine tenths of his impediment. Habitual, relatively unconscious, and associated with devastating attitudes of fear and shame, they seem to the naïve stutterer to be absolutely uncontrollable. Happily, that stutterer is wrong. Any habit ual reaction can be eliminated. The task is no easy one, and a good deal of courage and persistence is required of the stutterer who successfully breaks old handicapping habits. He must be willing to accept the tiny interruptions in his speech if he is to refuse to react to them. He must be willing to say with ‘PopEye,’ the prince of all mental hygienists, ‘I am what I am.’ He may have to reconcile himself to tiny stuttering blocks, but he need no longer be handicapped in his communication. He need no longer curse himself and wish to die. There is hope for the stutterer in what we already know about his disorder, and there is even greater promise in the research which quietly but constantly is being performed. The search for a stuttering cure goes on, and the trail is hot.