CSD 2072: Fluency Disorders

Course Syllabus – Spring, 2006

J. Scott Yaruss, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
5029 Forbes Tower – (412) 383-6538 – jsyaruss@csd.pitt.edu

Course Time: Monday 5:30p – 8:20p – Room 4060 Forbes Tower
Office hours: Monday before class and by appointment


Welcome to CSD 2072: Fluency Disorders. This course will provide you with a detailed overview of the nature and treatment of stuttering and other fluency disorders. My goal is to help you develop a thorough understanding of stuttering, while giving you the opportunity to practice and develop the clinical skills you will need to accurately diagnose and effectively treat children, adolescents, and adults who stutter.

Course Description

This course will be taught through the process of asking and answering questions about theory and clinical practice in fluency disorders. Each day, we will address a series of questions that will lead to a discussion about a specific topic in stuttering. You will receive all of the daily questions at the beginning of the course, and you will work with other students to prepare and review answers to the questions.

Course Rationale

This course is offered to help you develop an understanding of stuttering so you will be prepared to help people who stutter achieve an optimal outcome from treatment. Like many of the disorders in our field, stuttering can be complicated and confusing. To help you develop the necessary background, we will discuss a variety of topics from several different fields, including basic aspects of physiology, language develop­ment, emotional development, learning theory, counseling techniques, research methods, and clinical interaction. We will attempt to integrate all of these aspects to help you develop into effective and efficient clinicians who are comfortable and competent working with people with fluency disorders.

General Course Goals

At the conclusion of this course, you should be able to demonstrate a detailed understanding of:

·          Several of the most influential theories about the nature and etiology of stuttering

·          The process of evaluating and measuring relevant aspects of the stuttering disorder (including both surface features and aspects of the client’s feelings and reactions to stuttering)

·          The principles underlying clinical decision-making (treatment recommendations and treatment plans)

·          Several options for treating stuttering, viewed from a variety of different perspectives

·          How to develop individualized treatment programs by integrating elements from different approaches

You should also develop an appreciation of what it would be like to be a person who stutters, so you will be better able to understand your client’s perspective. Finally, you will practice thinking critically about various topics in stuttering so you will be prepared to evaluate new information as it develops throughout your career as a speech-language pathologist.

Specific learning objectives for the course are described in the attached summary, which we will address as the course progresses. At the end of the term, this form will be used to document your acquisition of skills and knowledge necessary for your certification by the American Speech-Language-hearing Association.

Course Outline and Procedures

Each day, we will cover a different topic in the field of fluency disorders. An outline of the topics can be found on the attached page. Each topic is associated with a set of daily questions, which you should examine and answer before class. During class, each group will share its answers to the questions, as we try to determine which responses we would want to provide to parents or clients who ask us about stuttering. As the course progresses, you will be able to develop a list of “best” answers to the daily questions that can serve as a guide and handbook for your future study and clinical practice in stuttering.

Course Materials and Readings

No specific readings are assigned in this course. You will select readings as needed to answer daily the questions, using the textbook Clinical Decision Making in Fluency Disorders (2nd Ed.; Manning, 2001) as a starting place. You also have a recommended book, The Source for Stuttering: Ages 7 to 18 (Reardon & Yaruss, 2004) to help you identify references in the literature. The readings you select can be drawn from several sources, such as other textbooks on stuttering and journals. A list of resources is attached, though you should be prepared to use search engines such as Medline, Ovid, and PsychLit to locate other readings.

Course Requirements and Grading

Preparation/Participation. The best way to ensure that you get the most out of this course is to be prepared before each class session begins. This means that you will need to research the daily topics and write answers to the daily questions before you come to class. You will work in groups of approximately 5 students to prepare your daily answers.

It is anticipated that different groups will find different answers to the daily questions, depending up the readings they select. In class, you will share your answers so various opinions can be represented and examined. It will be important for everybody in the class to participate actively during every class session.

Groups will submit their daily answers via the BlackBoard website prior to the class, and you will earn up to 10 points for each set of daily answers your group submits. Overall, your preparation and participation can earn up to a total of 100 points. (Note that there are 11 class sessions with daily questions; your lowest preparation/participation score will be dropped in the determination of your final grade.)

Practice. To help you understand what life can be like for a person who stutters, and to help you learn about key evaluation and therapy techniques, you will complete three practice assignments. After each assignment is completed, you will post a brief summary of your experience on the BlackBoard website for your class­mates to view. Practice assignments will contribute up to a total of 100 points toward your final score. Specific instructions and scoring guidelines are provided on the attached pages.

Project / Poster. In this class, we will address many aspects of the stuttering disorder. Still, we cannot possibly cover them all. To help you explore issues of interest to you, and to expand the breadth of the class content, you will collaborate with other students on a group project. Projects can involve tasks such as: reviewing personal stories of people who stutter, critically analyzing popular press articles about stuttering or materials available for SLPs; interviewing people who stutter, clinicians, or the general public about stutter­ing; reviewing literature on a relevant topic in stuttering, etc. The project will result in your creation of a “poster session” similar to those seen at academic confer­ences, which will be presented during the last 2 sessions of the class. Your project will contribute up to a total of 100 points toward your final score. Specific instructions and scoring guidelines are provided on the attached page.

Extra Credit. Finally, you will have the opportunity to complete flexible activities, which will be announced throughout the term as they occur to me (you can suggest activities as they occur to you, as well). Examples include: attending support group meetings, submitting reviews of movies involving characters who stutter, watching videos of treatment techniques, participating in on-line stuttering discussions, etc. These activities provide the opportunity to add up to 10 points of extra credit to your total score in the class.

General Course Policies

Academic Integrity. Students will be expected to comply with the University of Pittsburgh's Policy on Academic Integrity. Any student suspected of violating this obligation for any reason during the semester will be required to participate in the process, initiated at the instructor level, as outlined in the University Guide­lines on Academic Integrity.

Disabilities. If you have a disability that requires special accommodations or other classroom modifica­tions, you need to notify the instructor and Disability Resources and Services no later than the 2nd week of the term. You may be asked to provide documentation of your disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To contact Disability Resources and Services, call 648-7890 (Voice or TDD) to schedule an appointment. The Office is located in 216 William Pitt Union.