Stutterers, Beware!

Edgar S. Werner

There are so much charlatanism and swindling practiced by many who pretend to cure impediments of speech, that I feel called upon to give a few hints of precaution to speech-sufferers who may wish treatment, and who may not know how to discriminated between the good and the bad teachers. I would, therefore, say:--

Beware of him who has no fixed home, but who travels about the country, inserts glaring advertisements in the papers and stops only a short time in a place.

Beware of him who has "branches" here and there, and who "licenses" others to use his "method."

Beware of him who claims to have a secret, and who requires you to sign a bond.

Beware of him who has not the ability to write his own circulars, but who takes (either partly or wholly without credit) his matter from the writings of others; who talks unintelligibly about the "principles of science" and the "laws of physiology and psychology" using bad spelling and worse grammar, and who signs himself "doctor," "professor," "principal," or "director" of an "institution."

Beware of him who refuses to explain the principles of his method and who cannot, or will not, define stuttering differently than "a functional disorder," or "a wrong use of otherwise perfect and healthy organs."

Beware of him who says that he can effect a cure in two hours, in two days, or two weeks.

Beware of him who has never stuttered himself, but who has turned stutter-doctor solely for making money. Remember that only he who has himself gone through the ordeal is fully competent to help others.

Beware of him who pretends to have a thorough scientific knowledge of the subject, who uses technical and mystical language to impress those who read his circular with his great research and superior skill when his circular is so bunglingly put together that even a superficial examination discloses the plagiarism and the unscrupulous audacity of the "professor," "doctor," "director," or "conductor."

Beware of him whose "method" is principally bobbing the head, speaking syllabically, drawling out the words, or dilating sound." Make the teacher say plainly whether his "system" does no does not consist of one or more of these exercises. If he has something else, ask him what it is. If he will not tell, then have nothing more to do with him.

Beware of him who has all of his pupils continually in one classroom and has them all practice the same exercises regardless of the special needs of each individual case.

Beware of him whose fee is only $25 or $50. A competent teacher can not afford to give two or three months of his time, together will all of the additional expense, for such a small sum.

Beware of him who requires the entire fee before treatment. His confidence in his own system should be great enough to make him willing to wait for part of his pay until the pupil has benefited. Demanding full payment in advance looks suspicious.

From: Werner, Edgar S. (1881). The Voice, 3, 125.