Student reflections of pseudostuttering: A qualitative retrospective study (Shannon Fischer, Charlie Osborne, John A. Tetnowski)

About the authors

Shannon Fischer is a recent master’s graduate of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She currently works as a speech-language pathologist at the Cooperative Educational Service Agency #5 (CESA-5) in Wisconsin, where she provides speech and language services for children in early childhood up through twelfth grade. She has presented research at the ASHA convention, and her areas of interest within the field include fluency, language, and augmentative and alternative communication.
Charlie Osborne is a clinical associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.  He teaches the fluency disorders class and mentors graduate students working with people who stutter and their families.  Charlie has worked with people who stutter for over 30 years.  He is a NSA Adult Chapter Leader.
John A. Tetnowski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is the Blanco Endowed Professor in Communicative Disorders at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.  He is a Fluency Specialist and an ASHA fellow.  He has authored over 70 manuscripts on stuttering, assessment procedures, and research methodologies.  He has worked clinically with PWS for over 25 years.  He has been the DiCarlo nominee from the state of Louisiana, past Speech-Language Pathologist of the Year from the National Stuttering Association and is the 2016 Distinguished Professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.  He currently serves on the Steering Committee for ASHA’s SIG-4 on Fluency Disorders.

*This was presented as a poster at the 2016 annual ASHA conference in Philadelphia, PA

Abstract

One hundred twenty-seven graduate students engaged in three separate public pseudostuttering interactions.  Students worked in pairs; one pseudostuttered while the other observed.  Both reflected on the experience.  Over 380 student reflections were analyzed using thematic analysis to identify major themes and subthemes.  Speaker and observer reflections were compared and contrasted.

Introduction

Over the past two decades there have been numerous studies that have focused on the academic and clinical training in fluency disorders (Brisk, Healey, & Hux, 1997; Cooper & Cooper, 1996; Kelly, Martin, Baker, Rivera, Bishop,1997; Murphy & Quesal, 2004; Tellis, Bressler, & Emerick, 2008; Yaruss & Quesal, 2002).  A common discussion point with each of these studies is the many challenges involved in teaching a fluency disorders course within the university curriculum.  The instructional challenge on this topic for pre-service clinicians is daunting. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s changes to training requirements in 1993 and in 2005 have had a significant impact on the university training curriculum.  Yaruss and Quesal (2002) reported that over one-quarter of the academic programs they surveyed had reduced the course requirements for fluency in response to the ASHA’s 1993 standards with an average of 40.2% of class time spent on theoretical issues and 58.6% of class time spent on clinical issues.  Over 71% had a laboratory or practical application activities incorporated into their course.  The need for clinical relevance in coursework is a valid one and has been echoed in other studies (Kelly, et. al., 1997). Murphy and Quesal (2005) stated the need for skill acquisition activities that included reading stories of stutterers, learning how to stutter, and stuttering in public as means of developing students’ knowledge/awareness of the behavioral, affective, and cognitive aspects of stuttering.  They later reiterated their concerns regarding developing students’ “basic clinical skills” and suggested varied activities including pseudostuttering.

There have been several recent studies that have espoused the benefits of pseudostuttering (Reitzes, 2007; Klein, Cervini, & Clemenzi, 2006), as well as examined student reactions (Hughes, S., 2010; Mayo, Mayo, & Williams, 2006; Lohman-Hawk, 2008) and listener reactions to pseudostuttering (Irani & Richmond, 2012).  These studies have found that as a result of pseudostuttering, students experience anxiety when pseudostuttering, perceive negative listener reactions, and have an increased sense of empathy for people who stutter.  Listeners are perceived as being confused or uncertain, frustrated, patient, and/or overly helpful in response to student pseudostuttering.  All studies have concluded that the experience of pseudostuttering is a valuable one.  It was suggested by Irani and Richmond (2012)that future exploration of pseudostuttering have students do so in pairs, with one pseudostuttering while the other observes the interaction, so reflections can include the speakers’ and listeners’ responses.  Another strength of students working in pairs would be to compare the speakers’ perceptions of listeners’ responses to the observers’ perceptions of listener reactions.

Method

Subjects were 127 first-year speech-language pathology students, from the previous four years, enrolled in the graduate level Fluency Disorders class.  The students had read information related to the clinician and the therapeutic process and aspects of stuttered and nonstuttered speech (Manning, 2010); an article representative of the therapeutic process (Pensinger, Osborne, and Tetnowski, 2015); participated in a discussion of common factors in the change process; and had had several weeks to practice pseudostuttering amongst themselves and in class.

Students were required to pseudostutter in three different venues.  As a part of the pseudostuttering experience, each student was required to learn how to pseudostutter convincingly and read three to five personal stories by people who stutter from the Stuttertalk book (Reitzes & Reitzes, 2012).  Each student then paired with a classmate and pseudostuttered in three different venues/situations.  One student pseudostuttered, while the other observed the interaction.  Both students wrote reflections of their perceptions of each interaction.  Each student also wrote a summative reflection regarding the assignment as a whole.

Data consisted of four years of student reaction papers regarding their experience of pseudostuttering.  Analysis of these reflections was ethnographic in nature.  Student reaction papers were analyzed for common themes using coding and thematic analysis (Maxwell, 2013).  Student reactions were grouped into speaker and observer categories.  Each author read student reactions and coded them into categories that emerged from cyclic analysis, then compared and discussed results with co-authors to reach an agreement regarding major themes and accompanying subthemes insuring reliability and validity of results.

Results

The following themes and subthemes were discovered:


Speaker Themes

Major Theme IStudent feelings and emotions prior to pseudostuttering.

Subtheme A:  Anticipation and apprehension regarding pseudostuttering.

Students expressed concern regarding the authenticity of their stuttering and feared possible listener responses to their pseudostuttering.

“As a communicator, it was difficult to let go of my normal level of fluency to be purposefully disfluent. Part of me felt like I was mocking disfluency. That feeling really took me by surprise.” (Subject 68)


Subtheme B:  Avoidance of pseudostuttering

Students often postponed planned interactions, “chickened out,” deciding to not pseudostutter during an interaction, or chose to interact with a preferred listener (by age or gender).

“I tried to pick a person who looked the ‘least threatening,’ I chose the number of people around, and I had the ability to stutter as much as I felt comfortable within my conversation… no one seemed to be the ‘right’ person and no time was the ‘right’ time so we walked around the store for quite a while.” (Subject 33)


Major Theme II:  Experienced feelings and emotions during pseudostuttering.

Subtheme A:  Autonomic physiologic responses while pseudostuttering.

Students reported rapid pulse, sweaty hands, shakiness, and unplanned increased tension of pseudostutters.


Subtheme B:  A change in communicative style; less interactive and reduced eye contact.

Students limited verbal output and avoided looking at the listener.

“I had a difficult time maintaining eye contact and then almost seemed to whisper ‘thank you’ instead of using a normal conversational tone.” (Subject 78)


Subtheme C:  A lack of confidence in perceived listener reaction(s). 


Major Theme III:  Experienced feelings and emotions after pseudostuttering.

Subtheme A:  Increased negative self-concept as a communicator.

“I felt incompetent since I couldn’t order my own lunch and I felt like a nuisance to the person taking my order… While I ended up getting what I wanted, I felt horrible about myself.” (Subject 32)


Subtheme B:  Increased empathy for people who stutter.

“After having my pseudostuttering experiences, I think I can empathize with the authors [of the course text] but I will never fully understand what they have experienced and can’t pretend to understand either and I believe that will help me the most in therapy.” (Subject 10)


Subtheme C:  An increased awareness of the need to educate the public about stuttering.

“… as an SLP, it is my responsibility to help transform the views of people around me when they think about people who stutter.” (Subject 58)


Observer Themes

Major Theme I:  Viewed others’ responses. 

Subtheme A:  A broadened perception of listeners’ responses to pseudostuttering.

“When I did it myself, I was really clammed up and nervous, so it was fun to watch someone else do it so that I could really soak in everything that happened during those moments.” (Subject 53)


Subtheme B:  A sense of protectiveness for the person pseudostuttering.

“One thing I noticed with me though was how protective I was getting with [my partner]. I tried to help her when I could and almost felt like her guard since I kept scanning the room watching for anyone to react negatively to her.” (Subject 78)


Other

Students chose to pseudostutter when interacting with retail sales people, when ordering at a restaurant or drive through, when asking for directions on campus, and asking for information.

The majority of students used repetitions and/or prolongations when pseudostuttering. Other types of pseudostutters used included prolongations, blocks, and attempted secondary behaviors (e.g., eye blinking and tension).

There was a high level of agreement between the speaker and observer regarding listener responses. Out of 142 recorded observer reactions, there was agreement 70% of the time between speakers and observers and partial agreement 23% of the time.

Discussion

Results of this study were highly similar to previous studies conducted.  

Use of pseudostuttering experience heightened student empathy when reading personal stories of PWS.

Students overwhelmingly disliked this assignment, while at the same time valued it as a learning experience.

Having a partner when pseudostuttering;

  • Helped students “go through” with planned pseudostutter.
  • Was reassuring to speaker during and following the pseudostutter experience.
  • Allowed for a much richer experience. Partners could confirm the accuracy of the speaker’s perception and often noticed additional information the speaker missed.

“It is different knowing and learning about something through texts and lectures than to actually experience it firsthand. This project put things into perspective for me… I know that what I have gone through in this project is nowhere near what people who stutter go through but I do feel like I can empathize better than I was able to before.” (Subject 36)

Bibliography

Brisk, D., Healey, E.C., and Hux, K. (1997). Clinicians’ training and confidence associated with treating school-age children who stutter: A national surveyLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 28, 164-176.

Cooper, E. and Cooper, C. (1996). Clinician attitudes towards stuttering: Two decades of change. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 21, 119-135.

Hughes, S. (2010). Ethical and clinical implications of pseudostuttering. ASHA SIG 4 Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders, 20, 84-96.

Irani, F. and Richmond, A. (2012). Listener reactions to pseudostuttering experiences. Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, 36, 2, 106-115.

Kelly, E., Martin, J., Baker, K., Rivera, N., Bishop, J., Krizizke, C., Stettler, D., and Stealy, J. (1997). Academic and clinical preparation and practices of school speech-language pathologists with people who stutter. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 28, 195-212.

Klein, J., Cervini, M., and Clemenzi, K. (2006). When do I get to shut the door? Journal of Stuttering, Advocacy & Research, 1, 36-41.

Maxwell, J. A. (2013). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Murphy, W. and Quesal, R. (2004). Best practices for preparing students to work with people who stutter. Contemporary issues in communication science and disorders, 31, 25-39.

Quesal, R.  and Murphy, W. (2008). The fluency curriculum in the new millennium: Building “skills” into “knowledge” classes.  ASHA SIG 4 Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders,18, 33-36.

Reitzes, P. (2007).  Teaching graduate and undergraduate students to model stuttering behaviors.  Journal of Stuttering, Advocacy & Research, 2, 26-31.

Reitzes, P. and Reitzs, D.  (2012). Stuttering: Inspiring stories and professional wisdom (StutterTalk Publication #1), Chapel Hill, NC: StutterTalk, Inc.

Tellis, G. M., Bressler, L., and Emerick, K. (2008). An exploration of clinicians views about assessment and treatment of stuttering, 18, 16-23.

Yaruss, J.S. and Quesal, R. (2002). Academic and clinical education in fluency disorders: An update. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 27, 43-63.

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Comments

Student reflections of pseudostuttering: A qualitative retrospective study (Shannon Fischer, Charlie Osborne, John A. Tetnowski) — 24 Comments

  1. I am a graduate student in the SLP program at Idaho State University. We are also require to complete a pseudo-stuttering experience (5 face to face interactions, 5 phone calls). I really resonate with all of the themes identified in the results of this study, especially Major Theme III, Sub Theme B: Increased empathy for people who stutter. As someone who studies human communication, it is an incredible experience to put yourself in the shoes of someone with a communication disorder and try to communicate with others. I recognize that each individual experiences communication differently, so I can’t say that I understand what it is like to be a person who stutters. However, I feel that I can better understand the communication experience of a person who stutters after the pseudo-stuttering experiment.

    • Lindsay: Thank you for reading our paper and your insightful comments! You’re right, those of us who don’t stutter cannot completely understand the stuttering experience, but this exercise provides a taste of what it might be like. In addition to developing empathy, I think being able to pseudostutter convincingly is a useful clinical skill to have as a fluency clinician.

  2. Thank you for increasing awareness 🙂 Back in the late 70’s at Center for Independent Living near UC Berkeley and SF Bay Area we had able bodied students blindfolded (blind) and be in wheel chairs (people who use WC) to simulate the experience.
    At almost every talk I gave to speech classes –while with NSP/NSA late 70’s had students to turn to one another and stutter.
    Thank you again for doing this!
    always Michael

    • You’re welcome Michael. The pseudo stuttering assignment is a staple in my class and one of my favorites. I have the students read from others’ personal experiences of coping with stuttering as a part of the assignment. It helps them begin to have a deeper understanding of the stuttering experience (I hope!).

  3. Hello! I am also a graduate student currently in a fluency disorders class. Our professor has had us pseudostutter in class and later in the semester we will have a similar pseudostuttering assignment in the community. I can relate to the results gathered from this study even just practicing pseudostuttering in class. In my clinical placement this semester, I am working with a middle-school student who stutters and we are working on having him do voluntary stuttering with unfamiliar adults. I have found that this particular client is more comfortable if I pseudostutter to the adult first and then he will practice voluntary stuttering with the adult. Is this a common theme for people who stutter? Or do you think this is because he is a middle school student who does not feel comfortable with his own stuttering?

    • Leah: Excellent questions! I’m not sure it is a common theme, but it is not uncommon for a client to feel uncomfortable with stuttering on purpose; doing the one thing s/he has struggled NOT to do. When I introduce the concept, I take time to explain the rationale for doing VS so the client sees the purpose of doing so. Then I typically work with the child (or adult) to develop a hierarchy for voluntary stuttering (VS). We begin addressing VS in easier and/or safer situations (e.g., in the therapy room), gradually working our way into more difficult, realistic situations in activities of daily living. I typically pseudostutter along with the client’s voluntary stuttering for several reasons. I want them to feel this is a joint endeavor, one I am ready and willing to engage in along with the client. I have graduate student clinicians do so as well. By observing less experienced clinicians struggle with effectively/realistically pseudostuttering, the client sees that this is not an easy task, even for someone who doesn’t stutter. The client has a lot more to risk than I or my students do, but I think by modeling stuttering in various settings helps him or her when it is his/her turn to VS. Rare is the occasion when I’ve had a client who was initially comfortable with VS, but comfort level increases with repeated successful practice.

  4. I am a graduate student in the communication disorders program at the University of Redlands. While I am not yet enrolled in a fluency course there, in my undergraduate university we had a similar assignment. Throughout this assignment, my classmates and I all could resonate with the themes that were found in this study, especially Major Theme III, sub theme A. In relation to this, have you found that individuals who stutter have as many negative feelings and emotions when they are pseudostuttering compared to when they are involuntarily stuttering?

    • Taylor:
      A good question! When it comes to VS, the reaction from clients is not always the same. Initially the idea of stuttering purposefully can result in negative feelings from a client, but almost to a person, after significant practice with VS the client sees the therapeutic advantages of it. It is not uncommon for clients to tell me they like the benefits of VS, but still don’t enjoy doing it. For most, even though the stuttering is being done purposefully, it still feels authentic. VS can sometimes be empowering for the individual and promotes a sense of control (agency) which often reduces negative feelings. Desensitization also helps reduce negative feelings. VS may help facilitate acceptance for some people. Sometimes doing VS helps generate healthy discussions about emotions and reactions to stuttering. I hope this answers your question. Thanks for asking!

  5. I am also a grad student in the SLP program at Idaho State University and experienced many of the same feelings during our pseudostuttering assignment. I procrastinated, tried to control the speaking situations or people I approached, and noticed that I was more reactive to people who I perceived were giving me a weird look. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and while I did not look forward to completing this assignment, I definitely saw the value in doing it. Having a pseudostuttering partner seems like a great idea and, in retrospect, I wish I would have gone with someone. I think it would have been interesting to compare how I was feeling about how people were reacting to me with a partner’s observations.

    • Teresa:
      I began including a partner so the student doing the pseudostuttering could compare notes with her fellow student after each trial. Often, the perceived negative response by the speaker was not seen by the observer. However, there have been other instances when the speaker did not see those around her who were reacting negatively. I’ve found it is nice to have another set of eyes during this activity!

  6. Hello,

    I am a 2nd year graduate student at the University of MN Duluth. I am currently taking a course titled Advanced Fluency Disorders. While I have not had a pseudostuttering experience in this course, I did in my undergraduate Fluency course. I have to say, like the individuals in the study, I did not like the activity. However, I liked the perspective and insight that I was given. While reading about this study, a few questions popped in my head. They are:

    1. I have never considered asking a PWS to pseudostutter vs. voluntarily stutter. Do PWS typically feel the same emotions (self-doubt/low confidence) when they are stuttering on purpose?

    2. Is pseudostuttering an appropriate clinical strategy when working with all ages of PWS? Or is an older client population more appropriate?

    • There are very few activities I use with all of my clients, but voluntary stuttering (VS) is one. When it is introduced, varies with each client. Also, the purpose or use of VS will vary with each individual client. I have found (and so has the evidence) VS to be effective in promoting an increased sense of agency and desensitization. With younger children, ages 3-6, I do not ask them to VS; they typically do it spontaneously within the session and with their parents eventually, when stuttering is perceived as simply “another way of talking” (and they’ve heard me and others doing it)
      I can’t speak for the person who stutters, but many have reported that their VS feels “real.” There is no self-doubt though because they are stuttering on purpose. As I mentioned previously, VS can be an empowering experience for the person who stutters.

  7. Hello,

    I am a speech-language pathology student at University of Minnesota, Duluth in an Advanced Fluency Disorders class. I enjoyed reading the article, and I realized that the information resonates with my experiences. I think that pseudo-stuttering helps students gain first-hand experience to grasp the challenges that stuttering people face. Pseudo-stuttering, for instance, increased my empathy to persons who stutter as well as awareness of the problems they contend with when trying to communicate. A pseudo-stuttering experiment should be the first step to help clinicians and researchers understand the issues that stuttering people have, to enable them to conduct relevant investigations and develop effective interventions.
    My question is:
    – What is the role of pseudo-stuttering in improving the knowledge and skills of speech-language pathology students?

  8. As a first-year graduate student, this article caught my attention. I myself have not participated in a pseudostuttering assignment but think it is a great assignment that I hope to be able to participate in before the end of my graduate career. While it does not sound fun, it sounds like the insight in worth the level of discomfort one would feel. As a future SLP who does not stutter, it is extremely difficult to understand all of what those who stutter go through. I’ve read several papers about different experiences with stuttering and while helpful, simply reading does not provide the personal experience that is so crucial to understanding the emotions and avoidance one may encounter. A pseudostuttering experience is the closest experience we have as clinicians to get a feel of what our clients go through. I am curious to see how these students actual clinical experience differs from those who did not participate in a pseudostuttering assignment. There is no doubt that it is a helpful assignment, but I do wonder about the long-term effects and differences of clinical treatment. If we are continually finding this a helpful assignment, would it be beneficial to make it a part of the required curriculum for SLPs? Is that a practical requirement?

  9. Hello! I am a graduate student studying communication sciences and disorders at the University of Redlands. In fluency class, we had a pseudostuttering experience and it opened my eyes to what many PWS go through. The nerves and discomfort attached to the experience have stuck with me, as I work with my current client. I am in the fluency clinic on campus and I have noticed many behavioral factors that influence the session due to the client’s negative feelings towards stuttering. I am curious whether pseudostuttering as a clinician and explaining this experience to a PWS would positively or negatively impact the PWS’s ability to open up to the clinician about the negative feelings behind stuttering. Any thoughts?

  10. Hello,

    I’m a first year graduate student, studying Speech Language Pathology and I was fascinated by your article. I found it interesting that even pseudostuttering can cause so much anxiety for participants, to the point that it is similar to the anxiety stutterers experience on a daily basis.

    It was mentioned that the voluntary stutterers felt that they were mocking disfluency prior to pseudostuttering and that they would avoid eye contact in conversation because they felt like a nuisance. These comments stuck out to me in particular, and caused me to wonder what the responses were to these pseudostutterers (i.e., if their conversation partner could tell they were not real stutterers, negative reactions, etc.). Were the responses and reactions to these voluntary stutterers similar to the responses and reactions involuntary stutterers encounter on a daily basis?

  11. Hi Shannon, Charlie and John,

    I am a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and I am currently in an advanced fluency course. I found this article particularly interesting because I can relate. In my undergraduate education I experienced an assignment similar to this experiment. We were asked to pseudostutter in public and I too experienced anxiety, negative listener reactions and disliked the assignment. But I truly am grateful for what I had learned and gained from the experience. It is very interesting to me that an assignment I did in class was the basis for a research experiment. My questions are how will this research be used to help advocate for PWS? What would be the next step in furthering this research?

    Thank you!
    Rebecca

  12. Hello, I am a second year graduate student studying Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Redlands. Last semester in our fluency course, we also had a pseudostuttering assignment to complete out in the community. I had a similar experience as the majority of the results from this paper stated – anxiety prior to the pseudostuttering event, poor eye contact, negative perception of the listener’s reaction, and increased empathy for people who stutter. Now, I am currently working with a male student in middle school who severely stutters and states that his stuttering “does not bother” him. From my experience completng the pseudostuttering assignment, it is challenging to believe that this student is not emotionally affected by his stuttering – especially due to the severity and difficulty understanding his verbalizations at times. I don’t want to to encourage negative emotions toward his communication but I am hesitant to believe that he is not bothered at all by his stuttering. Would talking about my pseudostuttering experience be an appropriate way to address emotions? Would voluntary stuttering be a beneficial treatment method for a student who is “not bothered” by his stuttering?

    Thank you for you help!

  13. Hello, I am a graduate student studying Communicative Disorders and Sciences in Redlands University. It seems like a lot of commenters had done same/similar project on pseudostuttering as I have done during my undergraduate and graduate years. When I was given this project at first, I only focused trying to perfect pseudostuttering and did not think much of what I was going to experience regarding the listener’s various reactions to stuttering. Once I actually had demonstrated pseudostuttering in 3 different environments & people, I noticed and was surprised by some positive reactions & negative reactions I got from the listeners, and thus, overall, it was a rewarding experience for me to understand and empathize with people who stutter.

    Now my question would be, as it dawned me after finishing the project, whether the positive and negative reactions from the listeners vary & are dependent across the cultural and/or socioeconomic factors? Coming from two different cultural backgrounds, I realized the cultural group that lacked in experience,exposure, and perhaps education on stuttering reacted more negatively and defensively towards stuttering, than it had for the cultural group that was more exposed to stuttering and/or other disorders.

    Also, do you think it is also as important to understand the perspective of a listener while interacting with a person who stutter? I realized that unless you know someone who stutter, it would be difficult for you (as an aspiring speech therapist) to understand how YOU feel/react when interacting with those who stutter. I think it might be as important to self-reflect on the reaction and the emotions you experience when interacting with people who stutter so that you may serve this group of people better and more efficiently.

  14. I am a graduate student currently enrolled in a fluency course. This semester I participated in a pseudostuttering assignment. While reading through the speaker themes I could relate to each one of them! I felt like I was reading my own pseudostuttering paper. For our assignment we did not have to be in a pair and do an observer portion. However, I think that is a great idea! I wish I had the chance to do so because I feel I would have been able to learn a lot more from the other side too.

  15. I recently had to complete a pseudostuttering experience like the one mentioned and feel like these themes really resonated with how I felt about the assignment. One thing that wasn’t part of our experience was having a partner. I think this is a great idea! It seems that not only would it help the speaker go through with planned pseudostuttering experiences and feel a little more confident, but I think it would enrich the experience. When a speaker is anxious about pseudostuttering, it is likely that their observations of listener reactions will be less accurate due to worrying more about their own speech and also be colored by their own negative feelings.

  16. I think this is a great research study that supports the utility of a great assignment! I am a graduate student, and at first, I felt uncomfortable with the idea of pseudostuttering – would it be offensive? Would I stutter “the right way?” In learning more about stuttering, and being asked to pseudostutter, I’ve found that my experience correlates with the results of the study. I was wondering, however, how far into the course were the students when they were asked to complete this assignment? I wonder how much of an impact the amount of time in the course might make on the perceptions of the students and their willingness to participate. I was also curious whether the partners took turns being the pseudostutter and the observer, or if their roles remained static across the three venues? Thank you! 🙂

  17. I am a graduate student at ISU. Like a few of the commenters above, I too had to complete a pseudostuttering assignment this year. This was second assignment of its kind, having completed one in my undergrad years. One would think that the first experience would give me more confidence in approaching this assignment. In short, it did not. I experienced much of the effects mentioned above (physiologic response, negative self-concept, etc) but I did not have the opportunity to have a partner in this project, as I am in the online cohort.
    Reading this retrospective study made me realize the importance of this kind of assignment even more. As a profession that highly values evidence based practice, I was happy to see the studies behind this task. I know that what I learned and experience from this assignment will stay with me forever, even though I will never fully understand what it is like to be a PWS.

  18. Thanks for your article. It’s “easy” for other people to tell us to just do it and not be afraid or feel shame. I also have a problem with voluntary stuttering, although I know it has helped many people to get over the shame. What you’re doing is to walk a mile in our shoes. It at least give you a glimpse of what it’s like to stutter.

    I would also wish to see friends and sibblings in the therapy room, to learn more about stuttering and to help the pws with the exercises. It’s so much easier (and more fun) to do these tough exercises with people you like. You as a pws can get support, and a good laugh, and the friend also gets an insight in what it’s like to stutter.

    Keep talking!

    Anita S. Blom, Sweden