Effects of the SpeechEasy on Objective and Perceived Aspects of Stuttering: A 6-Month, Phase I Clinical Trial in Naturalistic Environments

Pollard, Ryan; Ellis, John B.; Finan, Don; Ramig, Peter R.
April 2009
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2009, Vol. 52 Issue 2, p516
Academic Journal
Purpose: Effects of the SpeechEasy when used under extraclinical conditions over several months were investigated. Primary purposes were to help establish Phase I level information about the therapeutic utility of the SpeechEasy and to compare those results with previous findings obtained in laboratory and clinical settings. Method: Eleven adults who stutter participated. A nonrandomized ABA group design was utilized. Speech samples were collected every 2weeks in extraclinical environments. Qualitative data were collected through weekly written logs and an exit questionnaire. Results: Group analyses revealed a statistically significant effect of the SpeechEasy immediately postfitting but no treatment effect across 4 months' time. Individual responses varied greatly with regard to stuttering frequency and subjective impressions. Relatively more stuttering reduction occurred during oral reading than during formulated speech. Conclusions: Based on this protocol, Phase II trials are not indicated. However, positive individual responses and self-reports suggest some clinical utility for the SpeechEasy. The use of more challenging sampling procedures strengthened external validity and captured more modest altered auditory feedback effects compared with those previously reported in laboratory settings. Device use coincided more so with positive subjective impressions than with measurable fluency improvement, highlighting challenges facing clinicians when implementing principles of evidence-based practice, including client-based preferences.


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