Dissertation Defense Announcement

School of Communication Sciences and Disorders announces the Final Dissertation Defense of

Christoper Constantino

for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

July 2, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Community Health Building - Room 3017

Advisor: Walter Manning

The Experience of Spontaneous Speech

ABSTRACT: The severity of stuttering is often determined by frequency of disfluency measures, but these are notoriously unreliable, highly variable, and have little relationship with the impact of the disorder on people's lives. Despite these drawbacks, much research and clinical work in stuttering focuses primarily on decreased frequency of stuttering. Therapy techniques that increase fluency often require considerable self-monitoring and make speech difficult. That is, fluency is gained at the expense of spontaneity. Spontaneous speech is characterized by little premeditation, effortless production, and is enjoyable/meaningful. Attention is not directed on the physical production of speech. This is the first study to attempt to measure the concept of spontaneity of speech. The experience sampling method was used with 44 people who stutter. They were surveyed five times a day for one week through their cell phones. Results indicate that spontaneity and fluency vary by context and day. Importantly, an increase in spontaneity significantly decreases the impact of stuttering on people's lives. Fluency did not significantly affect life impact of stuttering. This suggests that therapies that increase fluency but decrease spontaneity may fail to improve quality of life for people who stutter.