Friday, October 26, 2012

Screening test for stuttering?

The BBC has an article entitled Screening test for stuttering 'closer': see here.

Here some important quotes:
The Wellcome Trust team says a specific speech test accurately predicts whose stutter will persist into their teens. The researchers, based at University College London, used a test developed in the US called SSI-3 (stuttering severity instrument). They found that the SSI-3 test was a reliable indicator of who would still have a stutter and who would recover - while other indicators such as family history, which have been used, were less so.
I am not sure exactly what the hype is about, but it seems to be saying that the more severe you stutter as a child the less likely you recover? That sounds to me obviously true on average. That's also the factor I found in my outcome study that correlates with positive outcome: the less you stutter before treatment, the more likely you are fluent afterwards! I have to read the paper, but I am skeptical.

The most interesting comment is that "researchers also found so-called "whole word repetition" was not a reliable indicator of persistent stutter". I vaguely remember that being a prediction by the EXPLAN theory pushed by Pete Howell. But I could be wrong.

I am also not impressed by Mr Lieckfeldt's BBC comment:

 "At five, there is still a window of opportunity to help those with a stammer."

 And afterwards, no opportunity to help those with a stammer? ;-)

"If we intervene early enough, there is a really high success rate of normal, fluent speaking, whereas for six- to eight-year-olds, the recovery rate drops like a stone."

OBVIOUSLY, due to the natural recovery rate! Those that would recover, recovered already!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Delayed Auditory Feedback wins Nobel Price!

This year's Ig Nobel Price winners:

ACOUSTICS PRIZE: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada [JAPAN] for creating the SpeechJammer — a machine that disrupts a person's speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.

REFERENCE: "SpeechJammer: A System Utilizing Artificial Speech Disturbance with Delayed Auditory Feedback", Kazutaka Kurihara, Koji Tsukada, February 28, 2012.

Their "discovery" is that you can use DAF to stop people from speaking. When people hear their own voices with a slight delay, they stop speaking. One proposed application is a portable speech jamming gun, for use in places like libraries, as a quiet way to stop people from speaking, since loud interruptions are more disruptive than the speech itself.

I glanced through the paper, and it does refer to DAF for stuttering:

DAF has a close relationship with stuttering. DAF leads physically unimpaired people to stutter i.e., speech jamming. On the other hand, it is known that DAF can improve stuttering [1], and medical DAF devices are available [6]. We utilized DAF to develop a device that can jam remote physically unimpaired people's speech whether they want it or not. This device possesses one characteristic that is different from the usual medical DAF device; namely, the microphone and speaker are located distant from the target. [Thanks to Ora for his contribution]

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

How much do stutterers know about stuttering?

I have been stalking the ISAD conference again on Lidcombe as someone asked why Lidcombe is successful without asking first whether it is.

But let me inject some encouraging comments. I really liked to two posts.

From Jon Reilly:
Hello, I'm currently a graduate student at Kean University conducting a thesis regarding "education on stuttering." I was curious if you could recommend any studies that tested the knowledge of PWS on basic facts about stuttering. I researched and found John Van Borsel, but he presented surveys to the general public. I'm looking for PWS. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.

I have never heard anyone do this research, and I really like the topic. Obviously, knowing about stuttering as a person who stutters is important. I was thinking for a while to suggest that a stuttering therapy should have a test for pws about stuttering. And only if you pass the test, can you enter the therapy. I would really be interested in seeing how much they actually know about stuttering. But then I also would like to see the same study done on generalist SLTs! ;-)

From Lynne Shields on common factors for lasting change:
Hello Reuben, There are quite a few factors that contribute to successful management of stuttering for adults. A few that I have seen as important among the people I've worked with are: 1) being ready for change (as opposed to just wanting change to happen), 2) having fairly specific goals (as opposed to wanting the stuttering to go away), 3) developing tolerance of stuttering, allowing them to experiment with their speech, 4) readiness to manage negative feelings and attitudes about their stuttering, if appropriate, and 5) the willingness to experiment, facilitating problem solving and independent management of their stuttering. There are certainly others, and I am sure others will share their viewpoints, as well. Best regards, Lynne