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Exploring the Viability of Exposure to Stories of Individuals Who Stutter as a Learning Tool

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  • Background/Purpose The negative stereotype associated with stuttering has been shown to be both persistent and robust. The stereotype persists not only in the general public, but also in the student clinician population and practicing speech-language pathologists (SLPs). It is recognized that such perceptions have the potential to impact the delivery of treatment to individuals who stutter; however, efforts to change them have met with limited success. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the viability of viewing video-recordings of people who stutter in order to engender in student SLPs an empathetic understanding of people who stutter and the impact of stuttering on these individuals. Methods This study used an autoethnographic design in which the personal experiences of the participant researchers illuminated the culture under study (in this case, the culture under study is SLPs who are preparing to treat communication disorders). In this study, student SLP’s written reflections about their experience of viewing video-recordings of adults who stutter were thematically analyzed. Results Overall, stereotypic reactions and perceptions toward stuttering and adults who stutter changed as a result of the video-viewing experiences. That is, participants gained a richer understanding of the physical manifestations of stuttering and the psycho-emotional-social aspects associated with it. In particular, from their newly acquired understanding of stuttering, participants developed empathy for people who stutter, which they felt would impact their ability to provide treatment for stuttering in the future, and their confidence in doing so. Conclusions Participants felt that watching the video-recordings and reflecting upon them was a valuable learning tool. It increased their knowledge, empathy, and awareness of listener attitudes. The results of this study have important implications for the training of SLPs who will, in the future, be involved in the delivery of stuttering treatment.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International