About the presenter: Joseph Donaher MA., CCC/SLP is the Program Coordinator of the Stuttering Program at the Center for Childhood Communication at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

You can post Questions/comments about the following paper to the author before October 22, 2005.

The CHOPPER Fluency Meter

by Joseph Donaher
from Philadelphia, PA

Evidence based practice dictates that clinicians routinely monitor and evaluate progress in their clients. Progress can be defined as making improvements towards specific goals. In stuttering therapy, these advancements can be found in the affective, behavioral and cognitive realms. Thus, clinicians routinely seek novel tools to assist them in tracking changes in all domains.

Researchers frequently videotape an interaction, transcribe the sample, code disfluencies and then analyze the data in an effort to track behavioral changes. This method has been highly effective and is utilized for the majority of research projects requiring a comprehensive, micro-analysis of stuttering behaviors. However, clinicians often report that these methods are not practical for the clinical setting due to time limitations, lack of equipment and minimal training opportunities.

In an effort to meet the needs of clinicians, ³real-time² techniques were created for rapid analysis of stuttering behaviors. These methods can reliably measure the number and types of disfluencies (Yaruss, Max, Newman, & Campbell, 1998; Yaruss, 1998). Basically, these techniques have the clinician listen to a speech sample while coding each word or syllable as fluent or disfluent. Fluent syllables are marked with a neutral dash while disfluencies are marked with an abbreviation indicating the specific type of behavior. In this way, the clinician can rapidly and reliably calculate overall frequency of stuttering behaviors, and proportional frequency for specific types of disfluency (Yaruss, Max, Newman, & Campbell, 1998; Yaruss, 1998).

The CHOPPER Fluency Meter was developed at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to provide qualitative and quantitative measurements of the speech skills of individuals who stutter. The program is free and can be easily downloaded to any PDA using the Palm OS technology. Using the CHOPPER Fluency Meter, speech language pathologists can quickly and accurately calculate data including: overall frequency of stuttering behaviors, proportional frequency for specific types of disfluency, durational measurements, secondary stuttering behaviors and rate of speech.

Below you will find a detailed description of how the program works. However, there is a great deal of flexibility built into the program to allow clinicians to adapt the program for their individual needs. If, after using the program, you have any suggestions or ideas on improving the system, please contact the author.

Downloading the CHOPPER Fluency Meter

This software program is easily downloaded to any PDA using the Palm OS technology. Go to http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=79351. Once you agree to the terms of use, the download process should begin. This will store the program in the Palm install tool until your next HotSync operation. At that time, the CHOPPER icon will be installed on your handheld. To begin, simply double click on the CHOPPER icon to download it.

How to use the CHOPPER Fluency Meter

Frequency Mode

> As the person begins to speak, tap on the appropriate box. For example, for every fluent syllable simply tap the Fluent box one time and for every block, tap the Block box. Then tap in the corresponding box for each syllable. When the individual is not speaking, hold down the Pause box to pause the timer. Once you have collected an adequate sample, hit the Enable box again to stop the calculation. To keep track of the sample size, a Syllable Count is tabulated throughout the calculation process.

After you stop the calculation process, hit the Results box to display the results. There you will see the rate of speech listed as Rate. This was calculated by dividing the time by the number of syllables counted. You will also see a breakdown for each type of disfluency listed by count number and by percentage of overall disfluency.

Duration Mode

You then hold down the disfluency box at the start of each disfluent syllable. You release the box when the individual stops stuttering. This will automatically calculate the Average Duration as well as list 10 individual disfluencies.

Secondary Behavior Mode

Simply tap the box in front of each behavior if that behavior was demonstrated. For behaviors not listed, tap the Other box and write in that behavior.

Note: You can flip between each mode without loosing calculations. The system stores the results from the last session until they are erased or that mode is reactivated.


Yaruss, S., Max, M., Newman, R., and Campbell, J., (1998). Comparing Real-Time and Transcription Techniques for Measuring Stuttering. JOURNAL OF FLUENCY DISORDERS, 2, 137-151.

Yaruss, J.S., (1998). Real-Time Analysis of Speech Fluency: Procedures and Reliability Training. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY, 7, 2, 25-37.

You can post Questions/comments about the above paper to the author before October 22, 2005.

June 25, 2005
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