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Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering

Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering
J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F
January 3, 2014

This text-based course is a transcript of the webinar, “Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering” presented by J. Scott Yaruss, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, BRS-FD.


Today we are going to talk about the assessment process and ensuring that we are conducting a comprehensive assessment examining the speaker’s life experience of stuttering -- not just the surface behaviors, the observable stuttering -- but how stuttering affects the person. 

Before I begin, as you all know, I am required to provide disclosures about my potential financial and nonfinancial conflicts.  This talk is about the Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering (OASES), and you need to know that as co-author, I do receive royalties when Pearson sells it.  I also have two other recent publications, School-Age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide and Minimizing Bullying for Children who Stutter.  Those are both available through my publishing company, Stuttering Therapy Resources, and I get both royalties and ownership.  I may or may not mention those today, but I figure it is always better to provide the disclosure just in case I do.  I also do some volunteer work.  I am on the advisory board for Stutter Talk and I am a frequent volunteer for the National Stuttering Association. 

Today I plan to provide an overview of what the OASES is, how we developed it, what it is used for, when you can use it, and the purpose it serves in both ongoing assessment and treatment of people who stutter, including children, teens, and also adults.  You might be asking what the OASES is, other than the really long name that is hard to say: “Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering.”  It is a comprehensive measurement tool designed to document the experience of stuttering from the perspective of the person who stutters.  This is an important concept for me.  Most of our measures in the field of fluency disorders, and in fact most of our measures throughout the field of speech language pathology, are done from the perspective of the listener.  That is important, because when someone is speaking they are talking to someone who is listening.  The listener's perspective is important.  But in stuttering, one of the things we know is that what the listener hears does not always tell us much about what is truly going on for the speaker.  You may have had the experience of hearing someone who stutters, but who does not seem to be bothered by it at all.  They communicate freely.  They just stutter while they are doing it.  In that case, a comparison of what you, as a listener, perceive with what the speaker perceives could be very different.  In fact, ample research has shown that is often quite different.  My goal in my research over the last 15 years has been to develop a way of assessing the experience of stuttering, not just from the listener's perspective -- that is fine and we should continue to do that -- but also from the speaker's perspective, so we understand what their life experience is like and how stuttering is affecting their quality of life.  That is what the OASES is focused on doing.

j scott yaruss

J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F

J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, F-ASHA is a researcher and clinician who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of stuttering across the lifespan. He recently joined the faculty of Michigan State University as Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders after 19 years at the University of Pittsburgh. Scott has served on the Board of Directors for the National Stuttering Association (NSA) and on the Steering Committee of the ASHA Special Interest Division for Fluency and Fluency Disorders. His research focuses on the development of stuttering in young children, as well as the evaluation of stuttering treatment outcomes. He has published 70 peer-reviewed papers and 115 other articles, chapters, and books about stuttering, including the Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering (OASES). He frequently presents continuing education workshops designed to help speech-language pathologists improve their confidence and competence in helping individuals who stutter (www.Yaruss.com).

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