Stuttering is complex and a challenge to assess. Many speech pathologists have not met anyone who stutters and barely learned about it in graduate school. Stuttering involves uncovering the many layers of emotions as well.
For the speech-language pathologists it is not too late to learn.
What do we do first?
We need to gather background information. Is there history of stuttering in family? Any medical information? How old was the patient when stuttering started? Has stuttering increased over time? Any prior therapy? Did it help? Is stuttering affecting their life? Any co-morbid diagnoses or medication taken? How?
Talk to the parent. Gather a video or audio sample from home. Talk to the teacher and ask if the child is talking in class. This is sometimes hard to gauge as not all children participate in school.
Assess Fluency and Stuttering:
The Stuttering Severity Instrument (SSI-4) provides norms and is used for scores. It is useful to provide stuttering severity, frequency and observation of secondary characteristics. The Test of Childhood Stuttering (TOCS) is useful for children ages 4 through 12. It provides information of stuttering behaviors and characteristics. The Stuttering Prediction Instrument for Young Children (PSI) can be used for ages 3 through 8.
Remember to ask informal questions, ex: where did you go on vacation?, what is your favorite sport?. Try and find out their interests and dive in further to assess conversation. This will give you a better picture where to start treatment.
How does stuttering affect the student or adult?:
The Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering (OASES) is available for school aged students, teens and adults. The patient fills this assessment out to measure the impact of stuttering on a person’s life. Do not be afraid to read this over and ask more questions. Try and assess if the fears are overtaking the physical behaviors. This will also tell you how much the students knows about stuttering.
The Communication Attitude Test (CAT-S) also measures children’s attitudes towards their own communication.
Discuss concerns of parents or caregiver. Educate family on stuttering and realistic goals.
Many children need articulation and further language testing as well.
After all of this you have to assess what types of dysfluencies, emotional impact of stuttering and where to start therapy. For more information on stuttering please visit www.allislandspeech.com. If you are a speech-language pathologist please joinSLP: Stuttering DeMystified on FB