OLV Something Totally Random

Keynote speakers

Sam Simpson

Affiliation: Private practice 'Redefining Stammering'

Title: Stammering Pride and Prejudice

Sam Simpson is a speech and language therapist and a BACP registered person-centered counsellor with over 25 years' experience of working with people who stammer and their families in the public, private, education and voluntary sectors. She offers stammering therapy and counselling to young people and adults in her private practice, supervises trainee and qualified health professionals and counsellors, and regularly co-facilitates workshops and courses for healthcare professionals in conjunction with the City Lit speech therapy team, intandem and Metanoia Institute. Sam is co-editor of Stammering Therapy from the Inside: New Perspectives on Working with Young People and Adults (2013) and Stammering Pride & Prejudice (2019).


 Stammering is typically stigmatized as a character flaw and personal tragedy as it has historically been thought of as a speech defect located within the individual. However, emerging models of disability are challenging this preconception. They situate the defect in a society ill-designed for people who stammer. Some models go further and see stammering as a natural form of speech diversity that people who stammer can be proud of. This viewpoint challenges the stereotype that stammering is inherently negative. Instead, stammering is positioned as a different, valuable and respected way of speaking.
Together with Patrick Campbell and Chris Constantino, Sam has recently edited a book on the impact of these emerging models of disability on our understanding of stammering. 'Stammering Pride and Prejudice' brings together new, empowering voices and opinions on stammering into one accessible text. Combining personal narrative, art and disability theory, the book documents how society has historically disabled people who stammer and the diverse ways in which people are creating novel and exciting understandings of their speech.
In this presentation, Sam will consider different models of disability and their implications for people who stammer, clinical practice and research. She will reflect on how people who stammer, professionals and researchers can work together to liberate the stammered voice.

Selma Saad Merouwe
Affiliation: Saint-Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon, and the university of Turku, Finland, ECSF

Katarzyna Węsierska
University of Silesia, Poland, ECSF, EFS

Title: How Should We Interact with Adults Who Stutter? Cross-Cultural Findings on Stuttering Adult Preferences for Support and Assistance

Selma Saad Merouwe is a Slovak-Lebanese SLP. She is an ECSF graduate and a PhD student at the university of Turku (Finland). She is a lecturer at the Institut Supérieur d'Orthophonie of Saint-Joseph University (Beirut) since 2008. Her clinical practice and research focus on fluency and language disorders, and bilingualism.

Katarzyna Węsierska is an assistant professor at the University of Silesia (Poland) and the founder and an SLP at the Logopedic Centre in Katowice. In her research and clinical practice she focuses on fluency disorders. She coordinates a self-help group for people who stutter at the University of Silesia.

Research shows that misleading information related to fluency disorders is commonly shared by the nonstuttering majority.  Whereas recommendations regarding how to interact with-or how to support-people who stutter are widespread, little evidence exists to support these suggestions. The current study explored how Polish, Slovak, Czech, and Lebanese persons who stutter perceive the supportiveness of common listener reactions or comments regarding stuttering. Participants from the four countries completed the Personal Appraisal of Support for Stuttering-Adults - PASS-Ad (St. Louis, 2015). Responses from samples of adults who stutter in these four were compared to published results from a similar sample from the USA (St. Louis et al., 2017). On the PASS-Ad respondents rated the support they had received or preferred for their stuttering. Perceived support in the various countries was more similar than different; however, important variances were observed. The majority of respondents agreed with DOs and DON'Ts for interacting with people who stutter, but for every item, exceptions occurred. Overall results from Europe and the Middle East were also similar to results from North America.


Lukas Latacz
Erich Reiter

Affiliation: SAY IT LABS

Title: Game Changer: A voice-controlled video game for people who stutter

Dr. Latacz, co-founder of SAY IT Labs, has a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from VUB.  He has received grants, authored articles, and presented at numerous conferences on topics involving the use of artificial intelligence for people with speech disabilities.
Mr. Reiter, co-founder of SAY IT Labs, holds a Masters degree in Computational Linguistics and Speech and Language Pathology.  Prior to becoming an SLP, Mr. Reiter worked for 9 years as a speech recognition engineer and speech scientist. 

Did you ever wonder if speech recognition could work for people who stutter?  What about a video game that uses one's own voice as a joystick specifically created for people who stutter? This interdisciplinary mini-seminar that combines expertise from computer science, linguistics, and speech and language pathology, will showcase the beginnings of a novel method of motivating stuttering therapy both in and out of the clinic.  In the summer of 2018, a study was conducted at Camp Shout Out in Michigan, USA, to test the efficacy of using a gaming app to encourage practice and treatment.  The data collected positively revealed the power of using emerging technologies such as speech recognition embedded into a video game as a new modality used to motivate and promote independent practice beyond the clinic.  


Mark Meersman

Affiliation: Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, University College VIVES, ECSF, EFS

Title: Motivating people who stutter to change: frameworks and applications

Mark Meersman is a Bachelor of Speech therapy and Audiology (Thomas More U College) and M Sc in Clinical Language, Speech and Hearing Sciences (Utrecht University). He lectures in fluency disorders and methodology of speech and language therapy, with a special interest in behaviour modification in the broadest sense. Mark was a co-coordinator of the Postgraduate Course in Fluency Disorders at Thomas More U College. He specialized in Fluency and Voice disorders and has extensive clinical experience in stuttering therapy. He lectured and trained SLPs in various specialization courses on fluency and still does so within ECSF. He published various articles and gives lectures on fluency therapy, client motivation and client- or person-centered SLT.


Although fluency therapists may have different perspectives on goals and methods of stuttering therapy, virtually all approaches involve intensive behaviour change in clients. Bringing about long-term change in clients' communicative behaviour - skills, attitudes, feelings - may be the most challenging part of any fluency therapist's work. In order to achieve this, therapists need to activate and stimulate cliënts' motivation to change.
In this lecture we look into a number of evidence-based frameworks and models that provide fluency therapists with some guidance to increase clients' motivation to adjust fluency-related behaviours, attitudes and emotions. We address social cognitive theory (Bandura), transtheoretical model (Prochaska & DiClemente), self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan), motivational interviewing (Miller & Rollnick), and solution-focused practice (De Shazer & Berg). For each of these frameworks our goal is to filter out concrete suggestions that may help therapists in motivating their clients to change.

Courtney T. Byrd

Affiliation: University of Texas, Austin, USA & Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute, USA, ECSF

Title: The clinical utility of self disclosure for people who stutter.

Courtney T. Byrd, Ph.D., is Professor at The University of Texas. Her research interests include the study of speech-language contributions to childhood stuttering and the development of innovative treatment and clinical training tools. Her research laboratory received an endowment in 2012 and was renamed the Dr. Jennifer and Emanuel Bodner Developmental Stuttering Laboratory.
In 2014, the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute was established as a distinct endowed institute dedicated to excellence in clinical research for which Dr. Byrd serves as the founding Director. She is also Vice President for Research and Continuing Education for The Stuttering Foundation. Dr. Byrd has published her research in a variety of journals, several book chapters, and presented nationally and internationally


Self-disclosure and voluntary stuttering can positively alter listener perceptions. During this lecture a review is presented of a series of recently published studies that demonstrate that voluntary stuttering and self-disclosure are among the most beneficial therapy strategies, not strictly from the perspective of clinicians, but more importantly from the perspective of persons who stutter. She discusses and demonstrates that these strategies are only effective when used in distinct ways.