Category Archives: Measuring %SS

When taking the sample, what do you count if the child backtracks? For example if the child says ” Yesterday I went to the ..(block)…I went to the…(block)…Yesterday I went to the..(block)… park.” How many syllables and how many errors?

I think that this is the hardest type of stutter to count online – for obvious reasons. The problem is that you don’t know that the child is going to backtrack until after they have done it. But once you have identified that this is the way that a child stutters, then you simply count their syllables with a slightly longer delay than usual between when they say their words and when your finger taps the Truetalk. This gives you the extra second or two to see if they backtrack. In the example above, I would count 8 syllables in total, 1 of them a stutter and 7 are stutter-free. I would also hold down the Truetalk button for the duration of “..(block)…I went to the…(block)…Yesterday I went to the..(block)… ”  to include the time taken over this stuttered patch of speech.

At our Lidcombe Link days in the UK we sometimes practice %SS from passages of text where we know exactly how many syllables there are. We find though that there are often discrepancies in our results! People are pretty good at hearing the stutters but we get differing numbers of syllables. Is this a typical finding and is there any research on this? And in particular are there any ‘common’ reasons for the discrepancies that we can learn from the research?

Your finding is typical and this is one reason why the %SS measure is no longer required in the Lidcombe Porgram. See the following reference for further information about this:

Teesson, K., Packman, A., & Onslow, M. (2003). The Lidcombe Behavioural Data Language of Stuttering. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 1009-1015.