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!


Anonymous said...

Also not sure about this. I was relatively a mild covert stammerer as a child and if anything have had more trouble in adulthood.

Anonymous said...


You may want to check out this study by Yairi & Ambrose (1999) on persistency and recovery:

"There is no indication whatsoever that children who recovered had initially milder stuttering. To the contrary, the data show a slight tendency toward more severe
stuttering initially in the recovered group."

This study, which many view as seminal work, looked at children near stuttering onset.