Pediatric speech-language pathology involves the diagnosis and treatment of speech disorders among children below the age of 18 years. Conversely, pediatric speech therapy involves understanding associated developmental problems among pre-school children, toddlers, adolescents, and school-going children (McKay, 2021). Fiori et al. (2021) say there are many different tools that medical professionals could use to diagnose speech disorders, while Logan (2020) associates speech-restructuring treatments with the minimization of stuttering. In this presentation, I propose to adopt speech-restructuring therapy to adolescents diagnosed as stutters. The proposed trial will fit into the existing body of research by underscoring the efficacy of speech-restructuring therapy in treating stuttering. The purpose and aim of the clinical trial are outlined in the next slide.
Research Purpose, Aim and Questions
The purpose of the proposed investigation is to determine whether speech-restructuring therapy can be adapted as a successful technique for treating stuttering among adolescents. Research questions that will guide the study will be based on a quantitative adaptation of the intensity of applying the therapy to minimize stuttering. This means that the fundamental questions to be asked will be about the frequency of intervention that should be applied in the trial to realize desirable clinical outcomes. Stated differently, the main question that will underpin the study will be – “What frequency of intervention should be applied to improve speech therapy outcomes among adolescents?”
The quantitative research design will be used in the proposed study. As highlighted by Chee and Tan (2017), the technique involves the use of numerical variables in measuring research outcomes. Given that the focus of the current research is to minimize stuttering among adolescents with speech disorders, clinical outcomes will be assessed by measuring the frequency of short intervals for phonation. These variables are quantifiable and can be determined using the quantitative design.
Number and Type of Participants
Participants who will take part in the study will be students who have been diagnosed with stuttering by a speech-language pathologist. I intend to recruit 25 students aged between 14 and 18 years to take part in the trial. There will be no bias in selecting the informants because students from diverse backgrounds will have an equal opportunity to participate in the study. These participants will be recruited from schools offering education services to students with speech disabilities.
Participants will take part in therapy sessions within the school setting. This environment is appropriate for the investigation because students are familiar with it. The administration will be requested to allocate one classroom where this treatment will be administered and the outcomes measured on site.
Procedures: Steps to Follow
I will conduct the clinical trial by allowing students to participate in one speech-restructuring therapy per week. The frequency of interventions will vary to measure clinical outcomes. Originally, I will administer the treatment once a week for all students but the intensity will vary based on individual scores. Again, I will measure their performance by recording the frequency of phonation. Interventions will be administered as after-school sessions that are estimated to take 30 minutes each. The remedial scheduling plan means that the trial will not interfere with regular class scheduling.
Primary Outcomes and Measures
Variations in stuttering levels from the speech-restructuring treatment plan will be assessed by measuring the frequency of phonation. Other researchers, such as Brown et al. (2016), who have used speech-restructuring therapies to treat stuttering, have adopted the same measurement criteria. They have similarly associated it with the assessment of speech therapy outcomes by counting pauses and estimating fluency of speech.
I will use the snowball technique to obtain a sample of 25 students diagnosed with stuttering by a speech therapist. This sampling technique is appropriate for the investigation because it allows researchers to access a database of people who share similar characteristics that are desirable for a study (Chee & Tan, 2017). Therefore, the researcher will initiate contact with one student who has been diagnosed with stuttering and the same contact will reveal other participants who have the same condition.
Data obtained from the investigation will be analyzed using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS). As highlighted by Addis (2019), researchers have successfully applied this technique to analyze quantitative findings. The descriptive analysis method, which is nested in the SPSS technique, will be used for computation purposes. It involves the analysis of data using means, frequencies, modes, and standards of deviations to draw inferences and relationships among variables. The SPSS technique will be justifiably used in the study because it can assess large volumes of data within a short time (Addis, 2019). This data analysis technique will answer two fundamental questions relating to the study. The first one is, “Is there is a correlation between the intensity of speech-restructuring treatment and minimized incidences of stuttering?” Secondly, “Does speech-restructuring therapy improve fluency in speech among adolescents who stutter?” The findings that will be obtained from the investigation will contribute to the development of quantitative and qualitative data relating to the efficacy of speech-restructuring therapies.
Given that the proposed clinical trial involves human participants, it is important to understand the ethical implications of including them in the study. As highlighted by Mustajoki and Mustajoki (2017), some of the pertinent ethical considerations to consider when involving human participants in clinical research include confidentiality, anonymity, treatment of data, and consent. To address consent issues, all participants will take part in the study voluntarily. In other words, I will not coerce or pay them. Additionally, to comply with anonymity and confidentiality requirements of ethical practice, I will not publish respondents’ personal data, such as names, races, gender, and schools attended. I will also store data obtained from the research in a computer and protect it using a password that will only be available to me. At the end of the investigation, I will destroy this data to prevent potential future unauthorized access.
Knowledge Transfer Model
One of the key hallmarks for disseminating knowledge into clinical practice is the involvement of students and teachers as equal partners in developing new insights about a research project. The goal is to make them feel included in the research process. First, to improve knowledge dissemination in the proposed clinical trial, each stage will recruit informants as co-authors in the therapy sessions. Boyer-Kassem et al. (2018) suggest that such types of collaborations are beneficial to all parties because they help to improve stakeholder support in a clinical project. Secondly, the knowledge translation plan will involve the publication of results on various public platforms, such as workshops and conferences. This dissemination platform will help in reformatting data to be integrated into websites and other alternative forms of media, such as films and theatre. These knowledge transfer models are useful to academicians because speech-restructuring technique is a relatively underdeveloped treatment method for stuttering. Therefore, disseminating knowledge in this area of study is useful in advancing the current state of research on the subject area. Again, this is important for academicians who are exploring new areas of the treatment’s adoption in clinical practice.
In this presentation, I have outlined protocols for adopting speech-restructuring therapy to treat stuttering among adolescents aged between 14 and 18 years old. To recap, data will be sourced from 25 students who will be recruited using the snowball sampling method in special schools for children with speech disability. Speech outcomes will be assessed by measuring the frequency of phonation and the findings intended to improve clinical outcomes for students suffering from stuttering.
Addis, M., Lane, P. C. R., Sozou, P. D., & Gobet, F. (Eds.). (2019). Scientific discovery in the social sciences. Springer Nature.
Boyer-Kassem, T., Mayo-Wilson, C., & Weisberg, M. (Eds.). (2018). Scientific collaboration and collective knowledge: New essays. Oxford University Press.
Brown, L., Wilson, L., Packman, A., Halaki, M., Onslow, M., & Menzies, R. (2016). An investigation of the effects of a speech-restructuring treatment for stuttering on the distribution of intervals of phonation. Journal of fluency disorders, 50(1), 13–22.
Chee, W., & Tan, K. (2017). Research methods: A practical guide for students and researchers. World Scientific Publishing Company.
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Fiori, S., Pannek, K., Podda, I., Cipriani, P., Lorenzoni, V., Franchi, B., Pasquariello, R., Guzzetta, A., Cioni, G., & Chilosi, A. (2021). Neural changes induced by a speech motor treatment in childhood apraxia of speech: A case series. Journal of Child Neurology, 36(11), 958–967.
Logan, K. J. (2020). Fluency disorders: stuttering, cluttering, and related fluency problems (2nd ed.). Plural Publishing.
McKay, C. M. (2021). No evidence that music training benefits speech perception in hearing-impaired listeners: A systematic review. Trends in Hearing, 6(2), 142-153.
Mustajoki, H., & Mustajoki, A. (2017). A new approach to research ethics: Using guided dialogue to strengthen research communities. Taylor & Francis.