Stammering probably affects over 450,000 adults in this country. For some it is a childhood disorder, which can usually be effectively treated, but for others the patterns of bad practice harden, and the stammer continues into adult life in varying degrees of intensity. On the positive side, adult stammerers are usually resourceful and innovative in seeking life-styles that suit them, and in the process they have worked with speech therapists to develop a number of successful treatment programmes containing useful fluency techniques. One of the better known and longest established is treatment at The Apple House, which has been run at Oxford since 1964.
Speech Therapy courses for adult stammerers were started at the Warneford Hospital, Oxford, in 1964. They were initiated and encouraged by Dr. Seymour Spencer, MD, Bch, FRC Psych, DPM and Miss Catherine Renfrew, MBE, FRCSLT. From 1966 to 1998 they were directed by Mrs Gerda Wilson, MSc, MRCSLT, JP, a senior speech and language therapist whose work has been admired throughout the profession. Her achievements have been recognised by the International Association of Therapists and Counselors when in 1996 she was awarded the European Educator of the Year and in 1998 she received the Diana, Princess of Wales Award for Human Communication. From 1976 to 1998 her work at the Warneford Hospital was very ably supported and seconded by Mrs. Sylvia Davey, MRCSLT, as assistant therapist. The Oxford courses at The Apple House have been awarded the status of Health Service recognized “Centre of Excellence” and are we believe, unique in their continuous history over a period of some thirty-four year.