Appropriate evaluation and successful treatment of stuttering requires valid and reliable measurement of both the stuttering behavior and the broader experiences that people who stutter may face in their lives. Unfortunately, research has shown that speech-language pathologists are often not consistent in their assessment of this condition. The purpose of this two-part series is to help clinicians develop the skills they need to evaluate stuttering. Part 1 of this two part series, Issues in the Measurement of Stuttering, discusses several key issues that need to be considered in the measurement of stuttering (including factors affecting the counting of disfluencies and issues related to the broader stuttering disorder).
J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, F-ASHA, is a Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University. A board-certified specialist in fluency disorders, Dr. Yaruss has served on the board of directors for the National Stuttering Association and as Associate Coordinator for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Special Interest Division for Fluency Disorders. His research examines factors that may contribute to the development of stuttering in young children as well as methods for assessing and evaluating treatment outcomes in children and adults who stutter. Dr. Yaruss has published nearly 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and more than 100 other articles, papers, and chapters on stuttering. He is author, co-author, or editor of several booklets, books, and brochures on stuttering, including the Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering (OASES), a comprehensive evaluation tool for children, adolescents, and adults who stutter; Early Childhood Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide, School-age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide, and Minimizing Bullying for Children Who Stutter (all published by Stuttering Therapy Resources, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to developing useful resources for helping speech-language pathologists help people who stutter. . Dr. Yaruss has been named Speech-Language Pathologist of the Year by the National Stuttering Association and received the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Science Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Yaruss teaches classes on stuttering and counseling methods for speech-language pathologists and frequently conducts workshops designed to help speech-language pathologists improve their ability to work with individuals who stutter. for more information about Dr. Yaruss’s workshops.
Chapter One provides a justification for considering more than just speech behavior when evaluating individuals who stutter. Dr. Yaruss also introduces the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health and discusses how the framework can be used to understand stuttering.
Chapter Two addresses the question of why accurate measurements of stuttering behaviors are important and highlights several decisions that clinicians need to make in preparing to measure stuttering.
With practice, clinicians can learn to complete valid and reliable measures of the stuttering behaviors exhibited by their clients. In Chapter Three, Dr. Yaruss answers the question of how and when measures should be collected.