Faculty, students and alumni from MSU's Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders led research in the field during the 2021 Oxford Dysfluency Conference, one of the world's premier conferences on fluency disorders.
The conference is typically held every three years at St. Catherine’s College in Oxford, but last year’s conference was delayed and shifted to an online format due to the global pandemic. MSU researchers made a strong showing during the conference in January 2021. Of the approximately 60 presentations offered at the conference, 10 involved the team of researchers from the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences. MSU researchers delivered the highest number of presentations and/or posters from any single institution.
"This is just one of many successes that we have had in CSD. The Oxford Dysfluency Conference is a truly international conference, bringing in people from different continents," said MSU Chair of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders Dimitar Deliyski, Ph.D. He said he is proud of the level of funding MSU researchers have been able to secure for lab work, even as the global pandemic continues. "We have the most prominent scholars in the field. It's clear that a lot of important work is being done in our department."
Not only has the department garnered attention on the international level and earned new funding from the National Institutes of Health, but it has also secured many new publication credits.
New Research in Speech-Language Pathology
Researchers in the CSD Department have published ground-breaking work in the field of speech-language pathology in 2021. A paper by Assistant Professor Bridget Walsh, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, on "Evidence-Based Practice in Speech-Language Pathology: Where Are We Now?" was published in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology in January. The paper was produced in collaboration with Tamar Greenwell, CCC-SLP, at Purdue University.
“Since 2004, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has undertaken initiatives to foster greater exposure to and acceptance of clinical practices that are rooted in the most rigorous evidence available. It was not known, however, whether these initiatives promoted over the past 15 years have necessarily translated into greater use of evidenced-based therapy by practicing speech-language pathologists,” said Walsh. “We conducted a survey with one of the largest samples of speech-language pathologists to date to document whether and how these clinicians were using evidenced-based practices (EBP) and to identify barriers that exist to providing EBP. We found that early training in EBP in graduate school and clinical practicums promoted greater use of EBP in clinicians’ future careers. We also noted several challenges to providing EBP that still exist, for example, inadequate time, and highlighted ways to overcome these barriers. Our research is a step toward bridging the research-to-practice gap that exists in the field of speech-language pathology.”
Dr. Scott Yaruss also published research in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology in January on the "Variability of Stuttering: Behavior and Impact," working with Spartan and now post-doctoral researcher Seth Tichenor.
"Our research examines the ways that stuttering affects people’s lives. In this project, we sought to understand the impact of the variability of stuttering for adults who stutter," said Yaruss.
Stuttering is known to vary in its presentation from situation to situation, and over time. The way a person stutters in one situation or at one point in time does not necessarily match the way the person will stutter in another situation or at another point in time.
"In this study, we learned that this variability is the second most frustrating aspect of the condition for adults living with stuttering. The most frustrating aspect was, not surprisingly, the basic fact that they stutter. The fact that they can’t always predict whether, when, or how much they will stutter was second most frustrating," he said. "This information provides a solid justification for our ongoing research on how to better understand the causes of variability and highlights the importance of addressing variability directly in assessment and treatment."
Presenting at the International Conference on Dysfluency
University researchers Assistant Professor Bridget Walsh, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Professor J. Scott Yaruss, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, provided leadership for the team during the conference. The presentation and poster from Walsh’s lab explored risk factors associated with the persistence of stuttering. Her talk examined the relationships among risk factors associated with stuttering persistence and how these factors could be used diagnostically to identify children who are at greater risk to develop chronic stuttering.
A poster delivered by CSD MA student Alexis Novelli explored why children who stutter perform more poorly on nonword repetition tasks. The presentations and posters from Yaruss’s lab, including work by MSU alumnus Seth Tichenor, reflected several converging lines of research focusing on the speaker’s experience of stuttering and the adverse impact that people who stutter experience in their lives, as well as parallel work focusing on the reasons that people experience stuttering differently in different situations. Presentations on neural development in children who stutter, including work by MSU alumnus Gregory Spray, stem from a long-standing partnership with adjunct faculty member Soo-Eun Chang, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, who previously worked on the MSU CSD faculty and now works at the University of Michigan.
The representation at the conference is one of many highlights coming out of MSU's Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders this year. Two researchers recently secured five-year R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health for the CSD labs, with Walsh securing a total of $3,133,204, and Yaruss securing a total of $2,205,866 in funding.
"The coming years promise even more research and student training on these and other topics in the field of fluency disorders," said Yaruss.
The research presented by MSU at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference included:
- Gray and white matter developmental trajectories associated with childhood persistence and recovery. Paper presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference. Chow, H.M., Johnson, C., Spray, G., Garnett, E., Koenraads, S., & Chang, S-E (videoconference). (2021, Jan.)
- Nonword repetition task performance in preschoolers who stutter. Poster presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Novelli, A., & Walsh, B. (2021, Jan.)
- Adaptation of the Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering for people who clutter (OASES-C). Poster presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Scaler Scott, K., & Yaruss, J.S. (2021, Jan.)
- Heightened links between phonological skills and white matter integrity in preschool age children who stutter. Poster presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Spray, G., Chow, H.M., Yaruss, J.S., & Chang, S-E. (2021, Jan.)
- The variability of stuttering: behaviors, reactions, and impact. Poster presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Tichenor, S.E., & Yaruss, J.S. (2021, Jan.)
- Differentiating word-form encoding and working memory differences in adults who stutter. Paper presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Tichenor, S.E., Hampton Wray, A., Ravizza, S., & Yaruss, J.S. (2021, Jan.)
- Understanding the broader impact of stuttering: suicidal ideation. Paper presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Tichenor, S.E., Palasik, S., & Yaruss, J.S. (2021, Jan.)
- Evaluating relationships among predictors of persistence in preschool children who stutter. Paper presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Walsh, B., Christ, S., & Weber, C. (2021, Jan.)
- Assessing stuttering severity from the perspective of people who stutter. Paper presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Yaruss, J.S. (2021, Jan.)
- Conceptualizing the experience of stuttering according to people who stutter. Paper presented at the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (videoconference). Yaruss, J.S., & Tichenor, S.E. (2021, Jan.)
By Melissa Priebe