ASHA JOURNAL DECEMBER 1988 - Review by Dr.
Eugene B. Cooper
"No Words To Say." By Allan Holzman.
Produced by Holzman and Ron Amick. Distributed by Amick/Holzman
Company, 10061 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, CA 91602-2560. Color
only. 56 minutes. Reviewed by Eugene B. Cooper, professor, the
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
"No Words To Say" begins with the simple
printed message that people like Moses, Winston Churchill, and
Marilyn Monroe stuttered and that about 1% of the world's population
stutters. This message flows across the screen with the sound
of a piano as background.
Allan Holzman, the producer, director, photographer,
and editor, then discusses his own stuttering problem and his
desire to produce a film on stuttering. Holzman notes that while
conducting research for the project he became aware of the stuttering
therapy program that Joseph G. Sheehan conducted for 35 years
at the University of California at Los Angeles until his death
in 1983. The program continues under the direction of his wife
Vivian. The videotape is dedicated to Joseph G. Sheehan and was
filmed at UCLA featuring stuttering therapy program staff members
Vivian Sheehan and Peter Kupferman and more than a dozen adults
who had been or currently were enrolled in the therapy program.
The videotape consists primarily of shots of the
verbal interactions of Sheehan and Kupferman with adult stuttering
clients in group situations and concludes with what might be described
as a graduation performance where group members stand before their
colleagues and express their feelings about stuttering and how
they have coped with it. There being no narration, the continuity
of the videotape is dependent solely on the editing of the spontaneous
verbal interactions of the group-therapy participants and the
short personal statements of clients at the videotape's conclusion.
The quality of the sound and the picture throughout this color
video is excellent.
Holzman notes at the beginning of the video that
the UCLA program is based on the concept that stutterers can be
fluent if they give up the attempt to be fluent and learn to stutter
openly by eliminating stuttering-avoidance responses and the fear
The remainder of the videotape demonstrates how
that orientation to stuttering and its treatment is implemented
at UCLA. Clients are advised that they are no different in any
way from normal speakers. They are advised that there is nothing
physically wrong with them or their speech mechanism. Clients
are urged to purge themselves of all the tricks they have learned
to avoid stuttering. They are counseled to accept themselves as
Techniques such as the use of voluntary stuttering,
"sliding" (continuous phonation with light articulatory
contacts), and "canceling" tense involuntary disfluencies
by immediately repeating the stuttered word with a voluntary disfluency
are among the specific procedures described to assist clients
in learning to stutter openly and freely.|
While some of the concepts concerning the nature
of stuttering and its treatment as presented in this videotape
might be considered simplistic, it is difficult to criticize this
videotape. It succeeds admirably in presenting an overview of
the UCLA program in an interesting and informative manner without
any distracting didactic narration.
A large measure of the videotape's success can be
attributed to the attractive, bright, winsome, and articulate
stutterers who participated. One must wonder how representative
they are of the adult stutterers in the general population. Nevertheless,
the clients' thoughts, attitudes, and feelings are expressed honestly
in this videotape and, overall, their message is informative,
instructive, and, indeed, inspiring
This videotape should be in the library of every
education program in speech-language pathology. In addition to
introducing clinicians to Sheehan's conception of stuttering and
its treatment, students can observe a variety of stuttering patterns
in adults. Clinicians working with adults can use the tape to
assist clients in exploring their own feelings and attitudes towards
stuttering as well as to simply inspire clients in their continued
pursuit of their own goals.
Finally, this videotape should be required viewing
at least once annually by every support group for stutterers.
As with "Joseph G. Sheehan's Message to a Stutterer,"
the producers of "No Words To Say" have made a significant
contribution to the profession and to those who must cope daily
with chronic stuttering.
"No Words To Say" Copyright (c) 1988
Click here to place USA orders, US$19.95 + $8.00 shipping