ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

4aSC16. Predicting speech improvement from clinical profiles in stutterers.

Peter Howell

Dept. of Psych., Univ. College London, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, England

Procedures for assessing dysfluencies in stuttered speech have the limitation that they show poor inter-judge agreement. This constitutes a serious problem for, amongst other things, assessing how a stutterer's speech benefits from therapy. A critical review of alternative procedures that are available indicates that they do not offer any better prospect for assessing improvements due to treatment than do the traditional procedures. Several factors are identified which might lead to the limitation in agreement. A new procedure which overcomes some of the problems identified was devised and applied to a group of stuttering children before and after they received a 2-week intensive therapy course. The new procedure produced substantially higher levels of agreement than those reported in the literature. This procedure is used to measure the benefit each individual child achieved after treatment. Clinical review data on these children were then employed to see whether any aspect of the interview could have predicted the child's response to treatment. The child's general health and cognitive skills appear to be reliable indications as to treatment prognosis. [Work supported by MRC.]