The ASHA Special Interest Division in Fluency Disorders 2010 Leadership and Clinical Conference is now over. I think it was one of the best of our Division conferences that I have been to. I was very heartened by the content of the conference. The talks were informative and stimulating and certainly gave us direction for advancing our field.
As I listened to many of the talks, I realized that as research progresses and clinicians share their treatment experiences and observations, the speech-processing model of stuttering is gaining greater validity.
This model, as Dr. Edward Conture suggested, is based on process. It is aligned with Willem Levelt’s model of speech production that is so often mentioned by Dr. Conture, Dr. Luc DeNil and other experts in our field. The speech-processing model considers stuttering in relation to brain functions, attention, neuro-motor programming, neurological functioning, language formulation, working memory, and the automaticity of speaking. All of these topics were subjects that were discussed as possible links to stuttering.
Dynamic Stuttering Therapy, the therapeutic correlate to this theory, seeks to make changes in the neurological functions that relate to speech and language planning and production, as well as the cognitive and behavioral changes that so many of you see as an important component of therapy. It also incorporates Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross’s Stages of Change model that Dr. Walter Manning mentioned in his keynote speech.
Unfortunately, I only had 5 minutes on Saturday to talk to most of the conference participants about this approach. I think that because of the overlap of Dynamic Stuttering Therapy theory/therapy with what we discussed at the conference, there is a need to investigate this model to see whether it is a worthwhile direction for advancing the effectiveness of the treatment of stuttering.