As Founding Director of The University of Texas at Austin Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute, Courtney has unparalleled access to one of the largest and most diverse clinical populations of children and adults who stutter. Given the low incidence nature of this disorder, she feels a profound responsibility to share my unique access to the stuttering community with students, professors, and practicing clinicians across the globe. Her PTF initiative aims to do just that.
Contrary to portrayals in the popular media, stuttering is not a psychological disorder, rather it is a neurophysiological disorder with a genetic predisposition. However, when persons who stutter are provided speech-language services by someone who has not been adequately trained, stuttering can and often does have significant negative academic, social, and emotional consequences. Despite these detrimental consequences, most students report minimal to no clinical or academic exposure to stuttering. Given the critical lack in training, it is not surprising that most practicing clinicians feel the least competent providing services for stuttering.
The STEPS program will provide undergraduate and graduate students as well as practicing clinicians with an innovative, interactive opportunity to navigate authentic video footage of best practices for preschool, school-age, older adolescents and adults who stutter who differ in age, gender, and severity. Users will easily access STEPS on their personal computer or mobile device to observe and analyze a wide range of clinical scenarios and make complex decisions in the absence of client risk. The STEPS program will include 1000+distinct authentic clinical scenarios that are fundamental to the major domains of stuttering competencies required for receipt of ASHA certification.
Access to STEPS will serve as a valid, ground-breaking content and learning management system that can facilitate attainment of clinical competencies. In sum, through access to STEPS, students and practicing clinicians worldwide will be provided with the academic and clinical exposure needed to feel competent working with persons who stutter as well as the skills needed to make meaningful contributions to our understanding and treatment of this complex disorder.