Authors: Block S, Onslow M, Packman A, Gray B, Dacakis G
Title: Treatment of chronic stuttering: outcomes from a student training clinic
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2005 40(4): 455-466
Year: 2005
Research Design: Case Series

BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that one way to increase speech pathologists' confidence in working with people who stutter is to provide them with relevant and stimulating clinical experiences during their professional preparation. This paper describes a treatment programme for adults who stutter that is conducted by speech pathology students, under supervision, in an Australian university setting. The aim of the research presented here was to establish speech outcomes for this programme, and to determine whether the programme meets benchmarks set by reports of similar programmes, in addition to providing mentorship for student clinicians. METHODS & PROCEDURE: Participants were 78 adults who were treated in one of five consecutive treatment programmes during a 3-year period. The treatment was a traditional intensive speech restructuring treatment known as Smooth Speech, conducted over a 5-day period. Speech assessments were conducted 1 week and 1 day before the start of the treatment programme. Post-treatment assessments were conducted immediately following the intensive component of the programme, and 3 months, 12 months and 3.5-5 years post-treatment. The student clinic treatment model in this report produced objective speech data for more subjects in one outcome study than has ever been reported before. Data for 87% (68/78) of participants were available at 3.5-5-year follow-up. Results showed that outcomes for stuttering, speech naturalness, and client self-reports were all comparable with existing reports of similar programmes. The present results were attained with a student/supervisor ratio of around 8:1. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that a clinician-supervised student clinic has the potential to supply services for those with chronic stuttering, as well as providing effective clinical education for student clinicians during their professional preparation. The student clinic treatment model produced varied, objective speech data for more subjects than has ever been reported before in one study. The present findings also replicated a previous finding that stuttering was more severe within the clinic than in speech samples collected in everyday speaking environments.

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