Comparative analysis of paper vs online stuttering severity rating

Dr Karen Missen1, Mrs Amy Tucker1, Miss Adrienne Robinson1
1Latrobe Community Health Service


Background or Problem/ Issue:
Speech Pathologists at Latrobe Community Health Service use the Lidcombe program, developed in the 1980s in Sydney, Australia, to assist children who are stuttering. This program requires parents to complete therapy at home, and to assign their child a rating of Stuttering Severity each day. Traditionally, this rating is completed on a paper graph which the parents are then required to present at the weekly therapy sessions.
The rating sheet is an integral part of therapy, determining the time in between sessions and the duration of therapy; allowing for troubleshooting and identification of stuttering patterns; and, importantly, allowing the treating speech pathologist an insight into stuttering patterns and adherence to therapy at home.
It was noted by the Speech Pathologists that the use of the paper-based rating system was at times ineffective, as the paper was easily lost, forgotten or not completed by parents as required.

Method or What you did?
The Speech Pathologists at LCHS developed an online rating system for parents to use on their mobile phones instead of the paper version, and surveyed parents to determine their opinions on both rating systems.
The parents involved in the study also received a daily reminder text message to remind them to complete the online rating.
Parents involved in the Lidcombe program commenced therapy using the traditional paper rating system. After approximately 8 weeks, they were switched to the online rating system. A questionnaire was developed using Qualtrics and emailed to parents to complete following the completion of Phase 1, after 16 weeks of therapy.

Results or Outcomes:
All seven participants in the study preferred the online SR system compared to the traditional paper-based system. All participants also found the daily text reminder useful.
A feature of the online system was the ability to look at the editing history of the document. This was an excellent tool, as the speech pathologists could see when the document was last edited, and what updates were made. For the speech pathologists, this allowed a deeper insight into home practice and adherence to therapy.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:
The Speech Pathologists at Latrobe Community Health Service will continue to offer new clients the option of using the traditional paper-based method or the online system.


Amy Tucker
Amy is a Speech Pathologist with 10 years’ experience in Paediatrics. Amy has worked as a Speech Pathologist in remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, with children and adolescents in London, and has been employed at LCHS for nearly 5 years.

Addie Robinson
Addie is a Paediatric Speech Pathologist with over 4 years of experience working in community paediatric speech, language and fluency. Addie believes strongly in a family-centred approach to therapy and creating positive and long-lasting outcomes for her clients.

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