On stuttering patients’ opinions of Digital Speech Aids
It’s pretty interesting to see how the stuttering subculture (and the professional SLP subculture) have evolved. When the SpeechEasy first came out, it was perceived (and touted by many) to represent an absolute evil. And this initial reaction was pretty funny for me to witness; it reminded me of headless crowd of professionals all hustling and muttering the same thoughtless talking points. (So much so that I wrote a paper about it.) (And this wasn’t helped by the infamous Oprah appearance.) But a strange thing happened over the next 5 years or so. More and more stuttering consumers came out in favor of the device, and as such, so did many SLPs. Now, the pendulum has begun to swing in reverse, as there is more and more data coming out touting the minimal therapeutic benefits of digital speech aids.
Which is why I find this article to be so interesting. The study is from Poland, and are thus beyond the American perspective. In any event, their data suggests that stuttering clients (who wore DSAs for an average of 3 hours daily) seemed to appreciate the results. Same phenomenon; same population; same treatment approach; diametrically opposed results.