Education and self help for people who stammer
Progress report for the year ending 30 September 2016
SSEP website and online course
Throughout the financial year, the SSEP has maintained its website which provides access to a wide variety of teaching and self-help materials for people who stammer, as well as links to our Online Course which continues to be available for people to access freely over the internet.
Feedback we received in 2015 indicated that the online course layout was encouraging students to focus too much on the fluency techniques and not enough on the theory behind them. Consequently on the 28th December 2015 we made some substantial changes to the course, the most important being the re-ordering the three modules - such that now the first module is the theoretical module. In addition the course introduction now emphasises to students that an understanding of the theory constitutes an essential foundation for employing the techniques and they should not start the techniques without this foundation. We have also added a short introductory audio-slideshow entitled “5 key things you need to know about stuttering in order to start to gain control over it”, which should help clarify to students whether or not the online course is likely to be suitable for them. In particular, it highlights acceptance and pragmatism, as essential pre-requisites for the course.
Since making these changes, fewer people have enrolled on the course. However, the retention rate for those who have enrolled is significantly better than last year and (hopefully) a greater proportion of those people will continue to experience benefit over the long-term. Specifically, 26 people completed the initial questionnaire (prior to commencing the course), 15 of whom categorized themselves as speaking English as their first language. Of these 26 respondents, seven went on to compete the subsequent questionnaire for the Theoretical module, 5 for Orchestral Speech, 4 for the Jump, and 4 completed the final questionnaire (which provided OASES data to enable us to assess their progress. All four who completed the final questionnaire had English as their first language.
Feedback from the participants who did complete all questionnaires (including OASES self-assessments before starting and after completing the course) was positive (details are provided on the follow-up data page of the online course website). However, the lack of feedback from other participants means that we cannot know to what extent other participants have benefitted from the course. Consequently we continue to review how we collect follow-up data to see if there is any way of increasing the level of feedback participants provide.
Thanks to a generous offer by Richard Parent (in Quebec) we have now added French translations of some of our online articles. Also, in addition to the changes noted above, we have added a new audio slideshow entitled “Stammering and post-traumatic stress – some food for thought”. This is based on a lecture given by Paul at the BSA national conference in Manchester (Sept 2016) in it, Paul discusses the possibility that at least a proportion of people who stutter also suffer from post-traumatic stress associated with their stuttering… which may have some major implications for therapy.
Pyrenees Mountain Retreats
This year we held two week-long “Walk and talk” retreats in the French Pyrenees. Both were a great success. And, thanks to everyone’s enthusiasm, involved much more walking (and talking) than we had originally envisaged. In all, nearly 1000 photos from the two events have been uploaded to our Pyrenees Walk and Talk Facebook site.
In response to the positive feedback we received from the 2016 Walk and Talk events, we have decided to run two more such events in June and September 2017. Full details will be posted on our website and Facebook site. A number of people have also voiced an interest in attending a mindfulness-based walk and talk event, and we are currently considering whether to offer this in 2017 as well.
In the coming year we will continue to upgrade the online course and add more articles and translations. We are currently in the process of editing the first of a number of proposed Spanish translations.
The online course will continue to be free to all as long as we are able to continue to provide it. This year we plan to also offer additional one-to-one support sessions (via Skype) to individuals who request it. Although we will have to charge for such sessions, we will endeavour to keep the charges to a minimum.
SSEP Progress reports