Blog Archives

Anxiety and Stuttering: Continuing to Explore a Complex Relationship

Conclusion: The aims of future research should be to improve research design, increase statistical power, employ multidimensional measures of anxiety, and further develop anxiolytic treatment options for people who stutter.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology

Effects of Length, Complexity, and Grammatical Correctness on Stuttering in Spanish-Speaking Preschool Children

Conclusions: Results from the present study were consistent with many earlier reports of English-speaking children. Both length and grammatical factors appear to affect stuttering in Spanish-speaking children. Grammatical errors, however, served as the greatest predictor of stuttering.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology

Language Abilities of Children Who Stutter: A Meta-Analytical Review

Conclusions: Present findings were taken to suggest that children’s language abilities are potentially influential variables associated with childhood stuttering.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology

Comparison Of Pausing Behavior In Children Who Stutter And Children Who Have Asperger Syndrome

: Both groups presented grammatical and non-grammatical pauses and the former predominated. The children with Asperger Syndrome produced a greater number of pauses than the stutterers.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Reduced intracortical inhibition and facilitation in the primary motor tongue representation of adults who stutter

In persistent stuttering intracortical excitability of the primary motor tongue representation is altered with a deviant time course for inhibitory activity in the right hemisphere and reduced paired-pulse facilitation.

from Clinical Neurophysiology

Self-help conferences for people who stutter:, A qualitative investigation,

Self-help activities for people who stutter (PWS) have been gaining in popularity, however, there is a scarcity of evidence to support their utility in stuttering management. The purpose of this investigation is to understand the lived experience of individuals who attended a self-help conference(s) for PWS from the perspective of a PWS to learn its potential usefulness in stuttering management. The investigator used Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to systematically collect authentic data of this social phenomenon. Twelve participants were recruited from a self-help conference and the self-help community. Semi-structured interviews were conducted 4-18 months after a conference. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed. Themes were explained in investigator narratives and illustrated through participants’ quotes. Interpreted themes of the experience of having attended a self-help conference(s) for PWS included: socializing opportunities with other PWS, affiliation, shifting roles, positive change of emotions, and ways of redefining oneself including improved self-perspective, self-acceptance, increased risk taking, and freedom. Themes related to the experience of stuttering included word and situation avoidances and a variety of emotions including: embarrassment, fear, frustration, loneliness, and shame. Two themes related to the experience of stuttering were post-conference changed perception of stuttering and post-conference disclosures about stuttering. Conclusions of the study are that self-help conferences for PWS minimize negative internal influences that stuttering can have on daily functioning by providing an environment that is perceived as safer and conducive to social activity among PWS. Reported increases in social activity and “openness” about stuttering, suggest self-help conferences utility in stuttering management.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

The accuracy with which adults who do not stutter predict stuttering-related communication attitudes

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which adults who do not stutter can predict communication-related attitudes of adults who do stutter. 40 adults (mean age of 22.5 years) evaluated speech samples from an adult with mild stuttering and an adult with severe stuttering via audio-only (n = 20) or audio-visual (n = 20) modes to predict how the adults had responded on the S24 scale of communication attitudes. Participants correctly predicted which speaker had the more favorable S24 score, and the predicted scores were significantly different between the severity conditions. Across the four subgroups, predicted S24 scores differed from actual scores by 4 to 9 points. Predicted values were greater than the actual values for 3 of 4 subgroups, but still relatively positive in relation to the S24 norm sample. Stimulus presentation mode interacted with stuttering severity to affect prediction accuracy. The participants predicted the speakers’ negative selfattributions more accurately than their positive self-attributions. Findings suggest that adults who do not stutter estimate the communication-related attitudes of specific adults who stutter in a manner that is generally accurate, though, in some conditions, somewhat more negative than the speaker’s actual ratings. At a group level, adults who do not stutter demonstrate the ability to discern minimal versus average levels of attitudinal impact for speakers who stutter. The participants’ complex prediction patterns are discussed in relation to stereotype accuracy and classic views of negative stereotyping.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Translation, assessment and deployment of stuttering instruments into different languages: Comments arising from Bakhtiar, et al., Investigation of the reliability of the SSI-3 for preschool Persian- speaking children who stutter [J. Fluency Disorders 35 (2010) 87-91]

Bakhtiar, Seifpanahi, Ansari, Ghanadzade and Packman (2010) reported high inter-, and intra-judge agreement of a translation of the Stuttering Severity Instrument (SSI-3) for preschool Persian-speaking children who stutter. Translation of SSI-3 into Persian is desirable as there is no standardised stuttering severity test for that language. Ultimately, a Persian-based version of SSI-3 may allow clinicians and researchers to track severity changes during treatment. However, there are some shortcomings in methodology in the Bakhtiar et al. study particularly in the conclusions which the authors drew at the end of their paper. The purpose of this note is to alert clinicians and researchers who want to use the Persian version of SSI-3 to these issues as well as to raise some general points for discussion concerning how to go about translating and introducing tests into different language and cultural groups.

from the Journal of Fluency Disorders

Developing Physiologic Stress Profiles for School-Age Children Who Stutter

: Results reflect an initial investigation into the use of salivary sampling to measure reactivity in children who stutter. As children who stutter have historically been excluded from physiologic stress studies, salivary sampling appears to provide an innovative and minimally invasive option for investigators. Though interpreted with caution secondary to the small sample size, initial findings suggest that in response to normal daily stressors, school-age children with a history of stuttering do not exhibit significantly elevated stress biomarkers.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Stuttering Treatment Control Using P300 Event-Related Potentials

Positron Emission Tomography studies during speech have indicated a failure to show the normal activation of auditory cortical areas in stuttering individuals. In the present study, P300 event-related potentials were used to investigate possible effects of behavioral treatment on the pattern of signal amplitude and latency between waves. In order to compare variations in P300 measurements, a control group paired by age and gender to the group of stutterers, was included in the study. Findings suggest that the group of stutterers presented a significant decrease in stuttering severity after the fluency treatment program. Regarding P300 measurements, stutterers and their controls presented results within normal limits in all testing situations and no significant statistical variations between pre and post treatment testing. When comparing individual results between the testing situations, stutterers presented a higher average decrease in wave latency for the right ear following treatment. The results are discussed in light of previous P300 event-related potentials and functional imaging studies with stuttering adults

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Mindfulness Training in Stuttering Therapy: A Tutorial for Speech-Language Pathologists

The use of mindfulness training for increasing psychological well-being in a variety of clinical and nonclinical populations has exploded over the last decade. In the area of stuttering, it has been widely recognized that effective long term management often necessitates treatment of cognitive and affective dimensions of the disorder in addition to behavioral components. Yet, mindfulness based strategies and their possible usefulness in stuttering management have not been described in detail in the literature. This article seeks to engage professionals who treat stuttering in a conversation about the possible usefulness of incorporating mindfulness training into stuttering management. A review of the literature reveals that there is a substantial overlap between what is required for effective stuttering management and the benefits provided by mindfulness practices. Mindfulness practice results in decreased avoidance, increased emotional regulation, and acceptance in addition to improved sensory-perceptual processing and attentional regulation skills. These skills are important for successful long term stuttering management on both psychosocial and sensory-motor levels. It is concluded that the integration of mindfulness training and stuttering treatment appears practical and worthy of exploration. Mindfulness strategies adapted for people who stutter may help in the management of cognitive, affective, and behavioral challenges associated with stuttering.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Functional brain activation differences in stuttering identified with a rapid fMRI sequence

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether brain activity related to the presence of stuttering can be identified with rapid functional MRI (fMRI) sequences that involved overt and covert speech processing tasks. The long-term goal is to develop sensitive fMRI approaches with developmentally appropriate tasks to identify deviant speech motor and auditory brain activity in children who stutter closer to the age at which recovery from stuttering is documented. Rapid sequences may be preferred for individuals or populations who do not tolerate long scanning sessions. In this report, we document the application of a picture naming and phoneme monitoring task in three minute fMRI sequences with adults who stutter (AWS). If relevant brain differences are found in AWS with these approaches that conform to previous reports, then these approaches can be extended to younger populations. Pairwise contrasts of brain BOLD activity between AWS and normally fluent adults indicated the AWS showed higher BOLD activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), right temporal lobe and sensorimotor cortices during picture naming and and higher activity in the right IFG during phoneme monitoring. The right lateralized pattern of BOLD activity together with higher activity in sensorimotor cortices is consistent with previous reports, which indicates rapid fMRI sequences can be considered for investigating stuttering in younger participants.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Stuttering, Cluttering, and Phonological Complexity: Case studies

The phonological complexity of dysfluencies in those who clutter and/or stutter may help us better understand phonetic factors in these two types of fluency disorders. In this preliminary investigation, cases were three 14 year old males, diagnosed as a Stutterer, a Clutterer, and a Stutterer-Clutterer. Spontaneous speech samples were transcribed, coded for dysfluent words which were then matched to fluent words on grammatical class (i.e., function v. content), number of syllables and word familiarity. An Index of Phonological Complexity was determined per word, and word frequency, density and phonological neighborhood frequency were derived from an online database. Results showed that compared to fluent words, dysfluent words were more phonologically complex and ’sparser’, implying that they have fewer phonological neighbors or words in which a single phoneme is added, deleted or substituted. Interpretations and future directions for research regarding phonological complexity in stuttering and cluttering are offered.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Changing Adolescent Attitudes Toward Stuttering

Purpose. Live oral or recorded video presentations on stuttering were delivered to high school students in order to determine the extent to which their attitudes toward stuttering could be improved. Method. A classroom teacher administered the Public Opinion Survey of Human Attributes- Stuttering (POSHA-S) to two health classes before and after an oral live presentation by a person who stutters. She also gave the POSHA-S to two other similar classes before and after a True Life®: I Stutter video presentation. The stuttering person in the oral condition was one of three people featured in the video. Also, following the video condition, students filled out the POSHA-S a third time after a short oral presentation by the same person who stutters. Results. Measured attitudes improved overall on the POSHA-S and on selected items. Conclusions. High school students hold similar attitudes toward stuttering and stutterers as adults, and these attitudes can be improved, at least temporarily, by a presentation on stuttering but more via a live presentation than a professionally prepared video

from Journal of Fluency Disorders

Systematic Studies of Modified Vocalization: Speech Production Changes During a Variation of Metronomic Speech in Persons Who Do and Do Not Stutter

The most common way to induce fluency using rhythm requires persons who stutter to speak one syllable or one word to each beat of a metronome, but stuttering can also be eliminated when the stimulus is of a particular duration (e.g., 1 s). The present study examined stuttering frequency, speech production changes, and speech naturalness during rhythmic speech that alternated 1 s of reading with 1 s of silence. A repeated-measures design was used to compare data obtained during a control reading condition and during rhythmic reading in 10 persons who stutter (PWS) and 10 normally fluent controls. Ratings for speech naturalness were also gathered from naïve listeners. Results showed that mean vowel duration increased significantly, and the percentage of short phonated intervals decreased significantly, for both groups from the control to the experimental condition. Mean phonated interval length increased significantly for the fluent controls. Mean speech naturalness ratings during the experimental condition were approximately 7 on a 1-9 scale (1 = highly natural; 9 = highly unnatural), and these ratings were significantly correlated with vowel duration and phonated intervals for PWS. The findings indicate that PWS may be altering vocal fold vibration duration to obtain fluency during this rhythmic speech style, and that vocal fold vibration duration may have an impact on speech naturalness during rhythmic speech. Future investigations should examine speech production changes and speech naturalness during variations of this rhythmic condition.

from Journal of Fluency Disorders