Speech fluency refers to the smooth forward flow of speech in relation to continuity, smoothness, rate, and effort. Stuttering is the most common fluency disorder. It is an interruption in the flow of speaking characterized by irregular disfluencies (prolongations, blocks) that impact rate and rhythm of speech. Stuttering can be accompanied by physical tension, secondary behaviors, avoidance of sounds/situations, and negative emotional reactions.
Assessment for fluency disorders is based on evaluation of speech fluency, language, and emotional impact. Standardized testing may also be used to give a clinical rating of severity. Individuals with fluency problems may be evaluated by a team of graduate student clinicians under direct supervision of a certified instructor. One or two sessions may be scheduled, followed by an information-sharing session and a complete written report.
Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy and instruction in specific skills and techniques that lead to improved communication, such as modification of speech rate or breathing, and easy onset. The goals of therapy include communicating more effectively and improving quality of life. Therapy sessions are tailored to the specific needs of each client in conjunction with input from the client or client’s family. Depending upon the specific needs, clients may attend a 30-60 minute one-on-one session