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 Playbased Research

Suffolk-based SLT Isobel Pickering has carried out four studies (aided in one of them by SLT Fiona Hamilton) funded by the Dominic Barker Trust

Their paper on ‘The Effects of Play Situations on the Fluency of Children who Stammer’ was well received at the 5th Fluency Association Congress in Dublin in July 2006.

The Trust is delighted to support Isobel in building on this important work with a further research project called ‘Start/Stop’.

This is an exciting opportunity,” says Isobel, “to investigate the impact of a home-based programme for young children who stammer.” The project essentially tests the efficacy of a particular way of supporting parents and carers to help the dysfluent child at home before therapy becomes available at a clinic.

The idea is grounded in previous research and clinical knowledge about practical and fun
ways to help children who stammer. Young children spend most of their time at home and it is the most natural environment in which to practise speaking. Home-based activities, therefore,
tend to give good results.

The Start/Stop Project will provide parents with a ready-made resource and directions for working constructively with their child’s speech. “All the parents have to do,” says Isobel, “is open the box every day, choose an activity and follow the instructions in order to get their child speaking more fluently. I am hopeful that this project will help and empower parents to manage their child’s speech in their own homes and will have a positive effect on their child’s speech fluency.”

Grants from the Suffolk Foundation, the Grimwade Trust and the Tanyard Trust will help greatly with the purchase of appropriate equipment for this study. Isobel is currently working hard to refine all details of the project and get the research underway. She plans, with the support of research assistant Rachel Pennick, to begin data collection in January 2010. The Trust awaits their results with great anticipation.

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