Aachen Something Totally Random

Keynote speakers

Joseph Agius  (moderator)
Panel speakers are Ciara Daly (Ireland), Mateja Gačnik (Slovenia), Katarzyna Węsierska (Poland), Rosanne Maalderink (The Netherlands), and Frederica Chiari (Italy).

Affiliation:  University of Malta, ECSF

Title:  Once upon a time... ECSF graduates share their special moments: European Perspective!

Dr. Joseph G. Agius, Ed.D., is a registered Speech Language Pathologist with special interest in fluency disorders and humor research. He holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Speech and Language Studies from Trinity College, University of Dublin and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Sheffield. Dr. Agius lectures at the University of Malta on ‘Fluency Disorders', ‘Language and Psychiatry' and ‘Creativity, Humor and Communication'. He is also a staff member of the ECSF- European Clinical Specialization Course in Fluency Disorders.


The state-of-the-art ECSF specialization program provides specialist knowledge and skills leading to clinical specialization. However, experience is also a wonderful teacher. During this session, ECSF graduates share stories and experiences. When we hear a story, one of the primary emotions that our brain experiences, is empathy. By simply sharing stories we can plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the audiences' brains. Stories allow us to reflect on the way we live both in our personal and professional life while sharing stories brings people together. The interviewer gives the ECSF graduates an opportunity through which their experiences and thoughts can be shared with others. The interviewer is seen as a traveling companion of the interviewee trying to elicit her 'stories of the clinical world'. Through the interview we try to bring together the clinician- the person- the work. Sometimes it is important to put a name, a face within our professional field; it helps to humanize it. As they may inspire us, it is important to know who inspired them. The European Symposium is the right place to tell that story. Participants will: be inspired with ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions; empathize with fluency specialists; become motivated to enjoy working with people who stutter; gain life experiences from different cultures and countries.


Anthony DiLollo

Affiliation:  Wichita State University, USA

Title: Possible Selves Mapping with Adolescents Who Stutter

Anthony DiLollo, PhD, is a professor of speech-language pathology at Wichita State University, specializing in counseling, fluency disorders, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and qualitative research methods. He has worked as a psychologist and a speech-language pathologist in clinical and educational settings, as well as 15 years in academia. Dr. DiLollo has published and presented in the areas of counseling, factors related to effective therapy, teaching critical thinking, and qualitative research in communication sciences and disorders. He is co-author of the textbooks, Counseling in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology: Reconstructing Personal Narratives with Robert A. Neimeyer (2014, Plural Publishing), and Clinical Decision-Making in Fluency Disorders (4th Edition) with Walter H. Manning (2017, Plural Publishing).


Possible selves are the future-oriented components of the self-system involved in goal setting and motivation.  The construction of possible selves entails the recruitment of imaginative capacity and self-reflection on the part of the individual to create a set of hoped-for, expected, and feared future selves. The Possible Selves Mapping Interview (PSMI) was developed by Shepard and Marshall (1999) to explore possible selves with adolescents and emphasizes generating options, becoming self-aware, and making plans to achieve goals. These authors showed that the exercise encourages adolescents to consider their futures in terms of their hopes, fears, capabilities, expectations, priorities and action plans. In this presentation, the use of PSMI with adolescents who stutter will be explored as a means for engaging adolescent clients in a reflective process that that can examine their hopes and fears for their future.


Katrin Neumann

Affiliation: Dept. of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology, ENT clinic, Ruhr University Bochum

Title:  The German interdisciplinary evidence- and consensus-based guideline on the pathogenesis, assessment, and treatment of speech fluency disorders: What is internationally generalizable?

Katrin Neumann is professor of phoniatrics and pediatric audiology and otolaryngologist and chairs the Dept. of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology and the Cochlea Implant Center, ENT clinic, University of Bochum, Germany. She is member of the WHO Expert Advisory Board for the WHO program for prevention of deafness and hearing loss. Her research focuses on the examination of speech, language, and hearing. She is associate editor of the Journal of Fluency Disorders.

About 1.4 % children, 0.2 % women and 0.8 % men suffer from stuttering, a smaller number from cluttering. Persistent speech fluency disorders often cause lifelong problems in communication and social participation. In Germany, the knowledge about nature, identification, diagnostics, and treatment of stuttering and cluttering has been gleaned in an interdisciplinary evidence- and consensus-based guideline, containing a systematic review about the effectiveness of stuttering therapies (http://www.awmf.org/leitlinien/detail/ll/049-013.html). Because persistent developmental stuttering is associated with morphological and functional brain alterations we renamed it „genuine neurogenic non-syndromal stuttering". Its heritability is 70 to >80%. For preschool ages the Lidcombe therapy has the highest evidence for efficacy (Cohens d = 0.72-1.00). An indirect method shows strong evidence, too. For 6- to 12-year olds robust therapy evidences are lacking. For adolescents/adults high evidences (Cohens d = 0.75-1.63) exist for speech-restructuring methods (e.g., fluency shaping) and weak evidences (Cohens d = 0.56-0.65) for stuttering modification and for combined speech-restructuring/stuttering modification. There is negative evidence for pharmacological treatments, rhythmic speech and breath control as sole treatment elements, hypnosis, and unspecific stuttering therapies. The internationally generalizable knowledge contained in the German guidelines is subject of this presentation.


Trudy Stewart

Affiliation: Retired (previous Stammering Support Centre Leeds) , UK

Title: Changing attitudes to stammering through theatre: a social experiment.

Dr Trudy Stewart is a retired consultant speech and language therapist. She worked in the UK with children and adults who stammer for nearly 40 years. Her last role was clinical lead of the Stammering Support Centre in Leeds. She has taught undergraduate, graduate, and specialist courses for clinicians in the UK, Europe and Sri Lanka, including on ECSF courses. She has carried out research while a clinician, presented her work at international conferences and has written several texts on stammering. Her latest book, published in 2016 is ‘Stammering: a resource book for teachers'. Currently she is writing children stories, learning French and directing plays.

There is a large body of research documenting negative attitudes to stammering. The need for research   "...to address misconceptions, overt prejudice, negative attitudes, discrimination including subconscious biases in order to remove barriers towards people who stammer." was one recommendation identified in a symposium involving  researchers, clinicians and service users and ECSF in 2013 (Stewart 2013). There have been a number of attempts to change public attitudes to stammering (Sugarman, 2004, International Communication Project, 2014), however, none in the UK have involved the use of an original stage play and a cast of amateur actors. This presentation reports on such a social experiment.  Details will be given on the development of the script and the rehearsal process, both of which involved the stammering community. Initial analysis of outcomes data from the cast and audiences will be reported showing significant changes in attitudes towards stammering. The original cast of actors from Leeds Arts Centre will support the presentation, giving information on their experience of learning from the stammering community, live acted examples from the script and comments on the changes in attitudes they experienced.


David Ward

Affiliation:  University of Reading, UK

Title: On the definition of cluttering: present formulations and future directions.

David Ward is Director of the Speech Research Laboratory at the University of Reading and Lead clinician for Oxford Health PCT's specialist fluency service in Oxford. He has published extensively on disorders of fluency and maintains a specific interest in both aetiological and clinical aspects of cluttering. He is co-editor of the textbook ‘Cluttering: a handbook of research, intervention and education' (2011) and co-author of the practical manual ‘Managing cluttering', a comprehensive guidebook of activities' (2013). The second edition of his textbook, ‘Stuttering and cluttering' was published in late 2017. 


Cluttering has received rather little attention in the quality speech language therapy journals compared to stuttering. One reason for this is the substantial confusion going back over many decades as to its definition, and specifically with regard to diagnosis, the extent to which various features can be regarded as core to, as opposed to concomitant with, the disorder.
In this presentation I begin by reviewing some of the older accounts of cluttering in the context of more recent and empirically grounded definitions of the disorder. I will go on to outline the problems still facing clinicians and researchers with regard to the definition, and the implications for the diagnosis and treatment of cluttering. I conclude by introducing a working model of how cluttering can usefully be conceptualised for practicing clinicians based on the most recent research.


Patricia Zebrowski

Affiliation:  University of Iowa, USA

Title: The Cognitive Factors Underlying Readiness to Manage Stuttering: Evidence from Adolescents

Bio: Patricia Zebrowski is a professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa. She is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is an American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders certified specialist. Tricia's current research focuses on stuttering development and the cognitive factors underlying change readiness for teenagers who stutter. In addition to teaching and research, she has maintained active clinical practice in the department's clinic for close to 30 years. Tricia directs a summer residential therapy program (UISPEAKS for Teens) for adolescents who stutter.

Abstract:  Borrowing from the behavioral health literature, we propose that successful stuttering management in adolescents is linked to the goodness-of-fit between intervention processes and the teen's readiness for change, and that our ability to measure and influence this relationship over time is key to successful treatment. In this presentation, we will describe a research program designed to develop and validate three interdependent measurements of change readiness in teenagers who stutter: stage of change, decisional balance and self-efficacy. Analysis of survey responses collected from 300 adolescents and young adults who stutter provide the first evidence of separate but linked stages of readiness in the change process that occurs across stuttering management among adolescents who stutter, and that stage and stage movement are related to (1) the number and weight of the pros and cons for making a change (decisional balance),  and (2) the degree to which one feels confident in his or her ability to use the new behavior in difficult situations (self-efficacy). We will discuss these findings as they relate to our long-term goal of developing stage-tailored stuttering interventions to improve therapy participation and adherence, and prevent relapse in teenagers who stutter.