I am a person who stutters, a speech-Language pathologist, and an assistant professor at Duquesne University. My research interests include better understanding and predicting individual differences in the experience of stuttering (stammering), understanding how adverse impact related to the condition develops, and determining how moments of stuttering occur in speech. I am currently investigating the role cognitive-affective processes have on speech production and language formulation processes in stuttering and non-clinical populations. I also practice clinically and am actively involved in clinical education regarding stuttering assessment and treatment.
PhD in Communication Science and Disorders, 2020
Michigan State University
M.S. Speech-Language Pathology, 2013
University of Pittsburgh
A.B. Classical Civilization, 2010
See CV for complete list of published work
Stuttering is a neurodevelopmental speech disorder associated with motor timing that differs from nonstutterers. While neurodevelopmental disorders impacted by timing are associated with compromised auditory motor integration and interoception, the interplay between those abilities and stuttering remains unexplored. Here, we studied the relationships between speech auditory motor synchronization (a proxy for auditory-motor integration), interoceptive awareness, and self-reported stuttering severity using remotely delivered assessments. Results indicate that in general, stutterers and nonstutterers exhibit similar auditory motor integration and interoceptive abilities. However, while speech auditory motor synchrony (i.e., integration) and interoceptive awareness were not related, speech synchrony was inversely related to the speaker’s perception of stuttering severity as perceived by others, and interoceptive awareness was inversely related to selfreported stuttering impact.
Hemodynamic responses (HRs) are typically averaged across experimental sessions based on the assumption that brain activation is consistent over multiple trials. This may not be a safe assumption, especially in pediatric populations, due to unaccounted effects of inattention, fatigue, or habituation. The purpose of this study was to quantify the consistency of the HR over speech and language brain regions during speech production in typically developing school-aged children. Our findings suggest that brain activity from speech and language ROIs was relatively consistent over the experimental session. The exception was increased activation of left dIFG during earlier experimental trials. We suggest that researchers critically evaluate the consistency of HRs from different brain regions to determine the reliability of HRs recorded during experimental sessions. This step is instrumental in ensuring that uncontrolled effects do not mask
This article highlights the value for speech–language pathologists of considering the overall stut- tering condition—including speakers’ experiences during and around moments of stuttering—in treatment with individuals who stutter. We first highlight a framework for conceptualizing the en- tirety of the stuttering condition. We then present recent research and clinical perspectives about stuttering to support the claim that speech–language pathologists who account for individual dif- ferences in how their clients experience stuttering are better positioned to treat stuttering more effectively. Ultimately, this will yield better treatment outcomes and help clinicians achieve greater gains in quality of life for their clients who stutter.
This article presents several potential concerns with the common us- age of the term fluency in the study of stuttering and people who stutter (or, as many speakers now prefer, stutterers). Our goal is to bridge gaps between clinicians, researchers, and stutterers to foster a greater sense of collaboration and understanding regarding the words that are used and meanings that are intended. We begin by reviewing the history of the term fluency. We then explore its usage and current connotations to examine whether the term meaningfully describes constructs that are relevant to the study of the stuttering condition. By highlighting current research and perspectives of stutterers, we conclude that the term fluency (a) is not fully inclusive, (b) encourages the use of misleading measurement procedures, (c) constrains the subjective experience of stuttering within a false binary categorization, and (d) perpetuates a cycle of stigma that is detrimental to stutterers and to the stuttering community as a whole. We recommend that researchers and clinicians cease referring to stuttering as a fluency disorder and simply refer to it as stuttering. Furthermore, we recommend that researchers and clinicians distinguish between moments of stuttering (i.e., what stutterers experience when they lose control of their speech or feel stuck) and the overall lived experience of the stuttering condition.
The aim of this study was to examine how nonword repetition (NWR) performance may be impacted by the presence of concomitant speech and lan- guage disorders in young children who stutter (CWS).One hundred forty-one children (88 CWS and 53 children who do not stutter [CWNS]) participated. CWS were divided into groups based on the presence of speech sound and/or language disorder or typical speech sound production and language abilities. NWR abilities were measured using stimuli composed of one- to four-syllable nonwords.CWS with typical speech and language and CWNS had higher accu- racy scores than CWS with concomitant speech and language disorders. We found no difference in accuracy scores between CWNS and CWS with typical speech and language abilities, nor did we find differences between CWS with speech sound disorder and CWS with both speech sound and language dis- orders. Accuracy decreased as nonword length increased for all groups.We found that the presence of a concomitant speech and lan- guage disorder was a driving factor behind poorer NWR performance in CWS. Accuracy scores differentiated CWS with concomitant disorders from CWS with typical speech and language but not CWS with typical speech and language from CWNS. Considering the speech and language abilities of CWS helped clar- ify poorer NWR performance and enhances generalizability to the population that exists clinically.
Recent studies have shown that many children who stutter may have elevated characteristics of attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although childhood ADHD commonly persists into adulthood, it is unclear how many adults who stutter experience aspects of ADHD (eg, inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity). This study sought to increase understanding of how ADHD characteristics might affect individuals who stutter by evaluating (a) whether elevated ADHD characteristics are common in adults who stutter, (b) whether elevated ADHD characteristics in adults who stutter were significantly associated with greater adverse impact related to stuttering, and (c) whether individual differences in Repetitive Negative Thinking (RNT) and Effortful Control influenced this relationship.