Graduation Year

2016

Degree

M.S.

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Nathan D. Maxfield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Michelle S. Bourgeois, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Stefan A. Frisch, Ph.D.

Keywords

fluency, lateral, therapy, treatment

Abstract

Over 3 million Americans are disfluent due to developmental stuttering. Current evidence-based treatments typically consist of a rigorous schedule of intensive therapy, followed by the need for maintenance of skills, placing high demands on self-monitoring of one’s speech at all times. Relapse after treatment is very common, at 84%. The demand for further research into treatment possibilities for stuttering is on the forefront. Previous research has connected neural activations in people who stutter (PWS) and people with chronic nonfluent aphasia. The aim of this study was to determine if a novel intervention, based on a treatment for anomia, would change the frequency of stuttering during two speech tasks. A focal point of the treatment was the inclusion of a complex left-handed movement throughout tasks, targeting a proposed lateralization of neural activation into the right hemisphere of PWS, in order to promote fluent speech. Based on the results from the aphasia treatment study, a decrease in the frequency of stutter events was expected as a result of the adapted treatment for fluency. Two participants received treatment over the course of three weeks. Measurements of fluency during two speech tasks were obtained for pre-treatment, post-treatment, and follow-up analysis. Results from treatment indicated a general decrease in the frequency of stutter events in both participants. Further research is warranted in order to determine if this type of treatment could help to initiate a shift in focus to intervention approaches that deliver fluency gains with much less intensive treatment.

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