Leuven Something Totally Random

Keynote speakers


Progress, Benefits, and Challenges in Measuring Public Opinions About Stuttering Worldwide.
Ken St. Louis, professor at West Virginia University, has presented and published on stuttering and cluttering for 35 years. He currently coordinates an international initiative to measure attitudes toward stuttering. He was instrumental in developing the USA’s fluency disorders specialty recognition program and was co-founder of the International Fluency Association.
Abstract: In the past decade, numerous pilot studies have been carried out with the purpose of developing a reliable, valid, user-friendly survey instrument to measure public attitudes toward stuttering and other conditions worldwide, the Public Opinion Survey of Human Attributes (POSHA). The final prototype was recently completed together with a format for presenting summary information graphically and numerically to characterize attitudes of particular populations samples. The growing archive of comparative data on the POSHA permits users to compare their sample results with corresponding results from similar and dissimilar samples using a common instrument. Importantly, the POSHA has shown sensitivity to efforts to improve attitudes toward stuttering. Future challenges are numerous. These include: assuring accurate translations, developing cost-effective probability sampling strategies, identifying maximally effective strategies for changing attitudes, explaining differences in attitudes that exist, and broadening measurement to other conditions besides stuttering.


Sub-cortical implication in stuttering and other movement disorders.
Henny-Annie Bijleveld, PhD., is a professor of Applied Linguistics and neurolinguistics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. Her PhD thesis was on the topic of Linguistic Analyses of Neurgenic Stuttering. Her work focuses on research and therapy of Neurogenic and Developmental Stuttering. She is a member of the International Fluency Association, the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, and the Association Parole Bégaiement (APB).
Abstract: My purpose is to discuss new insights in the research of the basal ganglia and limbic system in stuttering, related to the possible dysfunction of neurotransmitters through the amygdalae and the striatum and to develop a hypothesis which could account for the dynamics of stuttering and other movement disorders. We must return to some fundamental statements: 1) Stuttering is an irregular speech and language disorder, irregular in its manifestations and in its forms, its duration and the context in which it appears. 2) Neurogenic Stuttering does not differ from Developmental Stuttering in its symptoms: it does not display a static, permanent character either. 3) What we call “psychological”, emotional aspects and stress are expressed through physiological manifestations. 4) Stuttering develops during language learning; it should therefore be interesting to study the interactions of the different systems, active in language processes and learning


A rationale for therapy goals and principles of success.
Walt Manning is a Professor and Associate Dean in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, The University of Memphis. He is a fellow of ASHA, a Board Recognized Fluency Specialist and serves as an Associate Editor for The Journal of Fluency Disorders.  The third edition of his text Clinical Decision Making in Fluency Disorders was published in 2009.
Abstract: A rationale for three levels of therapeutic goals for individuals who stutter is presented. The advantages and disadvantages of medical and common factors models for informing clinicians about therapeutic change are described. The common treatment factors that have been shown to account for a successful therapeutic outcome in a variety of fields - regardless of specific therapeutic protocols - are presented. Following a discussion about clinical-decision making based on rules and principles the rational for four underlying principles of therapeutic change are presented, each with examples of activities for promoting successful change.


Genetics of stuttering.
Dr. Drayna received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1975, and his PhD in Genetics from Harvard University in 1981.  He is currently Chief, Section on Systems Biology of Communication Disorders, within the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, at the National Institutes of Health, USA.
Abstract: Numerous twin and family studies have demonstrated a significant genetic contribution to stuttering.  Identification of the specific genetic variants that underlie this contribution would be an important advance in our understanding of the causes of this disorder.  The traditional first step in this process is a genome-wide linkage study to identify the chromosomal location of the causative gene(s).  We identified a group of large families in Cameroon, West Africa in which persistent stuttering shows linkage to markers on chromosome 15.  We've also studied a group of highly consanguineous families in Pakistan, where we demonstrated linkage to a region on chromosome 12.  Detailed studies of the genes within this region have revealed mutations that commonly occur in individuals who stutter, but do not occur in normally fluent individuals.  These mutations indicate stuttering is the result of an inherited metabolic disorder in these individuals, and suggest the possibility of new therapies for this disorder.


Recovery from stuttering.
Peter Howell is Professor of Experimental Psychology at University College London. He has worked on stuttering for 25 years. He discovered the fluency enhancing effects of frequency shifted feedback (or frequency altered feedback as it is sometimes called). This form of altered feedback is delivered by the SpeechEasy device.
Abstract: One of the firm facts about stuttering is that a lot of children start to stutter (about 1 in 20), but most get better by teenage (about 1 in 100 continue stuttering through to adulthood). The issues surrounding these facts that will be examined are:
1. How is stuttering defined and diagnosed? There are alternative ways of doing this that affect estimates of onset of stuttering in childhood and recovery rates.
2. Epidemiology. Do all members of society have an equal chance of starting and continuing to stutteror do particular groups have higher chances of stuttering?
3. Symptomatology. There are disputes about what symptoms should be considered stuttering (these affect onset and recovery estimates). Different stuttering symptoms may have different roles in the process of recovery.
4. Prognosis. Recent studies that report on risk for stuttering onset and for recovery will be examined.


Subtypes and risk factors in childhood stuttering.
Patricia M. Zebrowski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa. She is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, and is also a Board Recognized Fluency Specialist. Dr. Zebrowski's teaching, research, and clinical interests are in the area of stuttering, with specific emphasis on children who stutter. She has authored numerous research and clinical papers, as well as book chapters, videos, and a manual for stuttering intervention. In addition, Tricia has presented widely at national and international meetings on the topic of stuttering assessment and treatment. Presently, Dr. Zebrowski is a co-investigator on a large-scale, multi-site research project designed to examine the physiological correlates of early stuttering (NIH R01# DC000559 granted to Purdue University; PI: Anne Smith, Chris Weber-Fox).
Abstract: Recent work in childhood stuttering, converging with contemporary theories of stuttering development, has shown that within the general population of children who stutter exist subtypes in both etiology and behavior. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the application of theory and research to the differential diagnosis of stuttering subtypes in young children. Specific focus will be placed on the evidence for risk factors in the development of stuttering with regard to unassisted recovery or persistence. In addition, the implications for using risk factors in clinical decision-making will be described.  



Thoughts about Future Directions in Cluttering.
Ken St. Louis, professor at West Virginia University, has presented and published on stuttering and cluttering for 35 years. He currently coordinates an international initiative to measure attitudes toward stuttering. He was instrumental in developing the USA’s fluency disorders specialty recognition program and was co-founder of the International Fluency Association.
Abstract: At the First World Conference on Cluttering in 2007 in Razlog, Bulgaria, I proposed an agenda for the next decade related to seven statements—serving as guidelines—that could produce fruitful results to significantly advance the science and clinical management of cluttering. They are: (a) “Rate is central.” (b) “Definition matters.” (c) “Start with pure clutterers.” (d) “Epidemiology is critical.” (e) “Improve assessment.” (f) “Systematize therapy.” (g) “Advocacy must grow.” Since 2007, progress has been made in several of these areas, e.g., recognizing the importance of rate, growing consensus that an operational definition is basic to progress, improved measurement and assessment procedures, and increased professional and consumer knowledge. Work is still needed, for example, to understand how and why clutterers speak too fast, to generate solid data on the prevalence of cluttering, to understand brain mechanisms contributing to cluttering, and to better treat cluttering in all its manifestations.