Date of Award

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Carol H. Seery

Committee Members

John J. Heilmann, Shelley K. Lund


Adolescents, Children, Parents, Perspectives, Stuttering, Views



Perspectives of Stuttering Treatment:

Parents, Children, and Adolescents

By Heather D. Salvo

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee August 2016

Under the Supervision of Carol H. Seery

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Purpose. The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether age affects the perspectives of children (ages 8-12), adolescents (ages 13-17), and parents related to stuttering treatment experiences and outcomes. A secondary purpose of this study was to investigate whether the perspectives of children and adolescents regarding stuttering treatment experiences and outcome preferences differed from the perspective of their parents.

Participants. Participants required internet access and minors required parent/guardian consent to complete the Qualtrics survey. Eligible child and adolescent participants needed to be between the ages of 8-17 years old, with an onset of stuttering by age 12. They also needed to currently have a stuttering disorder and have a history of receiving treatment. Considering the two age groups, 11 children (ages 8-12) and 13 adolescents (ages 13-17) who stutter responded to the survey over a six-month period. These children and adolescents were unequally matched to 18 parents of children and 17 parents/guardians of adolescents who responded as well. This unequal matching was due to 24 instances in which parents and their children/adolescents responded to all their survey questions, while in 11 instances surveys were only filled in by parents and the child/adolescent portions contained no responses.

Methods. The online survey consisted of two sections of questions: one for parents and one for children/adolescents. Parents responded to 30 questions (two consent, four selection criteria, 10 demographic and treatment history, and seven perspectives of treatment) while children and adolescents responded to seven questions (perspectives of treatment).

Results. Given the limited number of completed surveys, responses were examined using descriptive statistics. No noticeable differences were observed between children and adolescents’ in the three item ratings of treatment aspects that included satisfaction with treatment, perceived change in speech and perceived change in communication skills. Ratings of both children and adolescents revealed a modal response of 4 on a 5-point scale (5=most positive). Both parent groups also had modal ratings of 4 on these same items.

An examination of the data based on years in treatment without regard to participant age, suggested differences. A majority (80%) of participants who received less than five years of treatment gave positive ratings of treatment aspects (4’s and 5’s). Those who received more than 5 years of treatment gave ratings across the wider range of negative (29%), neutral (25%), and positive (46%). A similar pattern was seen in parent responses divided according to their child’s years in treatment.

Children and adolescents did not differ on their preferences for treatment outcomes. Both groups’ responses were equally divided between speaking smoothly (close to 50%) and speaking freely, regardless of stuttering (close to 50%). In contrast, parents’ responses were not evenly divided between treatment outcome choices. Both parent groups showed a stronger preference for speaking freely, regardless of stuttering (close to 70%).

Discussion. Results of this study did not support the hypothesis that perspectives on stuttering treatment differ when comparing children and adolescents. The data indicated different perspectives of treatment may exist in relation to numbers of years in treatment. Also, parents’ perspectives of treatment appear to differ from their child’s perspectives, regardless of age.

Based on these results, speech-language pathologists should be aware that with greater years in treatment, there may be more parents and children/adolescents who stutter who feel dissatisfaction with aspects of treatment that may need more positive intervention to bring about improvement. Speech-language pathologists should also consider the different expectations for treatment clients and their parents may have and how that can impact treatment including education, goal development, interpretation of progress, and carryover. This study highlights the role of the speech-language pathologist in considering both client and, in the case of minors especially, family input with the intention of providing therapy that is effective in meeting the needs individuals.