Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Greg Snyder

Second Advisor

Brad Crowe

Third Advisor

Ronda Bryan

Relational Format



While stuttering continues to be considered a speech disorder, other linguistic expressive modalities are reported as having stuttering-like disfluencies (SLD) as well. With research now defining the stuttering phenomenon as a medical disease, the modern stuttering research paradigm is now better equipped to account for SLDs in multiple expressive modalities, including handwriting. As our appreciation of stuttering crosses expressive modalities, the purpose of this manuscript is to document, describe, and define SLDs in handwriting, as well as to investigate fluency enhancement strategies for those who stutter in handwriting. The participant in this case study self-referred himself for an evaluation and treatment for stuttering in handwriting. A written fluency assessment was developed to measure written gestural fluency in: (a) lines and shapes, (b) letters, and (c) numbers. Each of these three sections incrementally increased in linguistic complexity as a means to establish a baseline of performance. Conditions anticipated to enhance written fluency were also used. The primary observed characteristic of SLDs in handwriting was a failure to initiate an automated handwritten gesture, resulting in pauses or hesitations disrupting the forward flow of handwriting. Also, handwritten repetitions and prolongations were also observed, particularly at the initiation of written gestures. The participant and the experimenters documented frequent disfluencies relative to the initiation of letters z, m, w, and initiation of numbers 2 and 3; other SLDs were also reported, such as in the letters l and h. These data reveal the significant limitations within the conventional stuttering research paradigm touting stuttering as a speech disorder, solely focused on the distal manifestations of stuttering in speech. Further research is needed on the etiology of stuttering at the central level, in addition to the further documentation of SLDs in multiple expressive modalities, such that the stuttering research paradigm can better conceptualize and address the nature and treatment of stuttering as a general disorder and medical disease.

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