Eugene B. Cooper, Ed.D.
ASHA Fellow/ASHA Honors
Professor and Chair Emeritus
Programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Communication Disorders
Nova Southeastern University
Dr. Cooper's interest in the treatment of stuttering began 55 years ago when, as a freshman at the State University of New York at Geneseo, he observed individuals attending the stuttering clinic on campus with their arms in slings to foster the development of the dominance of one hemisphere of their brain over the other with the goal of developing more fluent speech. From that time to this, Dr. Cooper's primary professional interest has been in the treatment of stuttering. While conducting individual and group therapy for those who stutter, he produced over 175 publications and presented nearly 200 papers, talks and workshops throughout the United States, England, Scotland, Canada, Wales and the Netherlands. For twenty years, Dr. Cooper directed intensive residential treatment programs for those who stutter. The "stuttering apple" he wrote about in the early 1960s became a popular clinical method for assisting young children in conceptualizing their stuttering problem and for helping clinicians structure stuttering therapy. In 1965, in his first published chapter on the treatment of stuttering, he described a stuttering therapy program with the end goal being the development of the feeling of control rather than fluency (a position frowned upon at the time by many of his behaviorally‑oriented colleagues).
Dr. Cooper's research in the mid‑1960s into differentiating between the developmentally disfluent and the chronic stutterer led to the creation of the first instrument to predict stuttering chronicity (The Cooper Chronicity Prediction Checklist) and to his pioneering advocacy for early intervention with the very young disfluent child. His Personalized Fluency Control Therapy program kit, first published in 1976 and revised with his wife, Crystal, in 1985, was the first comprehensive stuttering treatment program made commercially available to practicing clinicians. Before the effectiveness, efficiency, economy and convenience of such endeavors became apparent, Dr. Cooper was chastised by colleagues who held he was tainted by "commercialism and the kit mentality." He was the first to describe a treatment program focusing on the development of the individual's feelings of control rather than on the individual's frequency of disfluencies. His 1979 National Easter Seal Society booklet, Understanding Stuttering: Information for Parents, revised in 1990, continues to be distributed widely. The third editions of the Cooper’s Personalized Fluency Control Therapy (now in an adolescent and adult version and a children’s version), were published in 2003 by ProEd.
It was Dr. Cooper who, at the height of the excitement in the 1970s over the potential of behavioral treatment approaches to stuttering, drew attention to "the frequency fallacy" which perpetuates the erroneous notion that the frequency of stuttering is the single most valid measure of stuttering severity. It was also Dr. Cooper who renewed debate in the 1980s on the controversial issue of incurable stuttering by his identification of the Chronic Perseverative Stuttering (CPS) Syndrome. Dr. Cooper was among the first to focus attention on the significance of a child's metalinguistic skills to the success of early fluency intervention programs which led to the publication of the nationally standardized Analysis of the Language of Learning: The Practical Test of Metalinguistics. Dr. Cooper and his wife described the "Collaborative Oral Language Fluency (COLF)" Program for enhancing fluency skills and preventing fluency disorders in preschool and primary grade children. In addition, they co‑authored the fluency disorders chapter in the popular 1993, (revised in 1998) text, Communication Disorders in Multicultural Populations. In the early 1990s they completed the development of the Cooper Assessments for Stuttering Syndromes (CASS) for Children (CASS‑C) and for Adolescents and Adults (CASS‑A); both computerized programs designed to assess the affective, behavioral, and cognitive aspects of fluency disorders.
Dr. Cooper was the 1991 President of the National Council of State Boards of Examiners for Speech‑Language Pathology and Audiology, more than a decade after having served as its charter president. In addition, Dr. Cooper was elected to serve five terms by his Alabama colleagues to represent them on the American Speech‑Language-Hearing Association's Legislative Council; a position from which he resigned upon moving to Florida. In recent years he served as chair of the Association's Ad Hoc Committee on Association Governance and as a member of the its Long Range Strategic Planning Board. For six years he served as a member of the American Speech‑Language-Hearing Foundation's Board of Trustees. Dr. Cooper was instrumental in the development of the International Fluency Association's Founding Articles and served on its Board of Directors for seven years as its membership committee chair and as secretary. He served seven years on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Division on Fluency and Fluency Disorders Steering Committee, six of them as Division Coordinator. He initiated the Division’s Annual Leadership Conferences, serving as conference coordinator on three different occasions, the most recently being in 2000. Dr. Cooper served as World Congress President for the International Fluency Association's Second World Congress on Fluency Disorders held in 1997 in San Francisco . In 1998 he chaired the Founding Specialty Commission on Fluency Disorders.
Dr. Cooper received his bachelor’s degree in speech and dramatic arts at the State University of New York, Geneseo in 1955 and his masters (in 1957) and doctorate (in 1962) at Penn State . He began his professional career as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools in Pennsylvania. Following completion of his doctorate, he taught two years at Ohio University before returning to Penn State as an assistant professor. For two years he worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C., first as a program specialist in speech and hearing in the Office of Education and then as Executive Secretary, Sensory Study Section, Research and Demonstrations Division, Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Department of Health Education and Welfare. Following that, for thirty years, until June, 1996, he served as chair of The University of Alabama's nationally accredited education programs in audiology and speech‑language pathology and as director of The University of Alabama Speech and Hearing Center. In the fall of 1997, Dr. Cooper was named "Distinguished Professor" in the Programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Communication Disorders at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Dr. Cooper, a Fellow of the American Speech‑Language‑Hearing Association, served as charter president of three national organizations: The Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders, The National Council of State Boards of Examiners in Speech‑Language Pathology and Audiology, and The National Alliance on Stuttering and as charter chairman of the National Council on Communication Disorders. In 1998 he served as the Founding Chair of the Specialty Commission on Fluency Disorders. He is past‑president of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Children with Communication Disorders. He served for three years on the Council of Exceptional Children's Board of Governors and for six years as Consultant‑at‑Large on the Executive Council of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. He served as chair of the Alabama Board of Examiners for Speech Pathology and Audiology and twice as a member of the American Speech‑Language‑Hearing Association Committee on Honors. He received the Honors of the Council of Academic Programs, the National Council of State Boards of Examiners for Speech-Language-Pathology and Audiology, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, The International Fluency Association, the Division for Children with Communication Disorders as well as two Distinguished Service Awards and the Honors from the Speech and Hearing Association of Alabama. In 1989, Dr. Cooper received the SUNY at Geneseo Alumni Association's Professional Achievement Award and in 1999 he received the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. In 2001 he received the Stuttering Foundation of America’s prestigious Malcom Fraser Award for his life-time contributions to those who stutter. In 2002 he was inducted into the National Stuttering Association’s “Hall of Fame” for his lifetime of service to those who stutter. Since 1990, Dr. Cooper has been listed in “Who’s Who in America.”
June 1, 2006