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
Prior research has suggested that people who stutter exhibit differences in some working memory tasks, particularly when more phonologically complex stimuli are used. This study aimed to further specify working memory differences in adults who stutter by not only accounting for linguistic demands of the stimuli but also individual differences in attentional control and experimental influences, such as concomitant processing requirements. This study included 40 adults who stutter and 42 adults who do not stutter who completed the Attention Network Test (Fan et al., 2002) and three complex span working memory tasks- the Operation Span (OSPAN), Rotation Span, and Symmetry Span (Draheim et al., 2018, Foster et al., 2015;, Unsworth et al., 2005, 2009). All complex span tasks were dual-tasks and varied in linguistic content in task stimuli. Working memory capacities demonstrated by adults who stutter paralleled the hierarchy of linguistic content across the three complex span tasks, with statistically significant between-group differences in working memory capacity apparent in the task with the highest linguistic demand (i.e., OSPAN). Individual differences in attentional control in adults who stutter also significantly predicted working memory capacity on the OSPAN. Findings from this study extend existing working memory research in stuttering by showing that (1) significant working memory differences are present between adults who stutter and adults who do not stutter even using relatively simple linguistic stimuli in dual-task working memory conditions (2) adults who stutter with stronger executive control of attention demonstrate working memory capacity more comparable to adults who do not stutter on the OSPAN compared to adults who stutter with lower executive control of attention.
This study evaluated the relationship between emotional regulation (ER) and adverse impact related to stuttering across the developmental spectrum, in preschool and school age children, adolescents, and adults who stutter. An additional aim examined how these variables relate to the ways that individuals approach speaking (their agreement on whether their goal is to speak fluently). Participants were the parents of 60 preschoolers and younger school age children (ages 3 to 9 years), 95 school age children and adolescents who stutter (ages 7 to 18 years), and 180 adults who stutter (ages 18 to 81 years). All participants completed surveys with age appropriate measures examining ER and the adverse impact of stuttering. Older children and adults who stutter also answered questions regarding their goals when speaking. Multiple regression and ordinal logistic regression were used to examine relationships among ER, adverse impact related to stuttering, and goal when speaking.In preschool children, adverse impact was significantly predicted by a parent-reported measure of ER skills; in school-age children and adults, adverse impact was significantly predicted by measures of the ER strategies cognitive reappraisal (CR) and expressive suppression. Less frequent use of CR by adults was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of having not stuttering as a goal when speaking. Differences in the significance and magnitude of these relationships were found across the life span. For both children and adults who stutter, ER is a significant factor related to the adverse impact of stuttering; the relationship between ER and adverse impact may change over development. Accounting for individual differences in ER can improve understanding of why a person copes with stuttering in the ways they do, and this has notable implications for individualizing intervention for both children and adults who stutter.
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.