FIST Research


This page summarizes different aspects of FIST research.


Feasibility of screening


Study: Howell, P., & Davis, S. (2011). Predicting persistence of and recovery from stuttering at teenage based on information gathered at age eight. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32, 196-205.

Description: We took a range of measures when we first saw a group of children who stutter (around age eight). We followed them up until teenage. At teenage, we determined whether each child continued to stutter or not. We investigated which of the measures taken at onset predicted persistence/recovery of stuttering. Of all the measures taken, only a measure of symptom severity predicted the outcome. This prompted us to investigate further things that the symptom severity measure might predict (in particular whether a child is fluent or not).


Study: Howell, P. (2013). Screening school-aged children for risk of stuttering. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 38, 102-123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2012.09.002.

Description: This study followed up on whether the symptom severity measure could determine whether or not a child is fluent to acceptable statistical standards using archived data. The results confirmed that this was so.


Study: Reed, P., & Wu, Y. (2013). Logistic regression for risk factor modelling in stuttering research. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 38, 88–101. doi:10.1016/j.jfludis.2012.09.003

Description: Primer on use of logistic regression with applications to speech and language therapy. Yaqiong Wu’s part of this work were done as her master’s project thesis in Howell’s lab at UCL.


Study: Harris, J. (1994). English sound structure. Oxford: Blackwell.

Description: This book is as much about phonological theory as about the phonology of English. It is primarily designed as a university-level text for use on intermediate and advanced courses, but it will be of value to anyone interested in recent theoretical developments in the field.


Assessments of severity and symptom instruments for screening


The next three articles examine the stuttering severity measure to see if it can be honed for screening purposes. The original instrument appeared as ‘Riley, G. (2009). The Stuttering Severity Instrument for Adults and Children (SSI-4) (4th ed.). Austin, TX: PRO-ED.’


Study: Jani, L., Huckvale, M., & Howell, P. (2013). Procedures used for assessment of stuttering frequency and stuttering duration. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 27, 853–861.

Description: This article looked at different procedures that can be employed to see if they gave the same score. The critical question is procedural forms that ate simple and easy to use give satisfactory results. If so, they are convenient to use in schools.


Study: Todd, H., Mirawdeli, A., Costelloe, C., Cavenagh, P., Davis, S.., & Howell, P. (2014). Scores on Riley’s Stuttering Severity Instrument versions three and four for samples of different length and for different types of speech material. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 28, 912-926. DOI: 10.3109/02699206.2014.926991. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1372085

Description: This article looked at whether short samples of spontaneous speech gave satisfactory results. Such samples are suitable for use in schools.


Study: Mirawdeli, A. & Howell, P. (2016). Is it necessary to assess fluent symptoms, duration of dysfluent events and physical concomitants when identifying children who are at risk of speech difficulties? Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 30, 696-719. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699206.2016.1179345. https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/publication/1126556/18.

Description: Riley’s instrument incorporates three components. In this article, we established that the symptom measure alone was suitable for screening in schools.


Field tests of severity and symptom instruments for screening


Study: Mirawdeli, A. & Howell, P. (2016). Is it necessary to assess fluent symptoms, duration of dysfluent events and physical concomitants when identifying children who are at risk of speech difficulties? Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 30, 696-719. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699206.2016.1179345. https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/publication/1126556/18.

Description: Riley’s instrument incorporates three components. In this article, we established that the symptom measure alone was suitable for screening in schools.


Study: Mirawdeli, A. (2015). Identifying children who stutter or have other difficulties in speech production in school reception classes. Procedia – Soc. Behav. Sciences, 193, 192-201.

Description: This article reports a field test that validated the Howell (2013) procedure.


Study: Mirawdeli, A. (2016). Assessing speech fluency problems in typically developing children aged 4 to 5 Years. PhD thesis, University College London.

Description: Avin Mirawdeli’s PhD work on screening.


Study: Howell, P., Tang, K., Tuomainen, O., Chan, S. K., Beltran, K., Mirawdeli, A. and Harris, J. (2016), Identification of fluency and word-finding difficulty in samples of children with diverse language backgrounds. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. Doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12305 [DOI] [pdf] [bib]

Description: This study designed and validated a non-word repetition test (UNWR), applicable across 20 languages. It was validated by comparing groups of children identified by their speech and language symptoms as having either stuttering or WFD. This non-word repetition test validates the symptom procedure. Both the symptom procedure and the non-word repetition measure are appropriate for use with children who have diverse language backgrounds.


Liaison between schools and SLTs about children with SLCN


Study: Dockrell, J. & Howell, P. (2015). Meeting the needs of children with Speech Language and Communication Difficulties: Challenges and Opportunities. British Journal of Special Education, 42, 411-428. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8578.12115. https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/publication/1058893/1.

Description: The above work is premised on the assumption that schools want a screening procedure. This article with Julie Dockrell confirmed that this is the case. Considerable work is taking place to document different expectations that Speech and Language Therapists, schools, parent, clients and other stake holders have.


Designs of phonological and semantic interventions


Study: Howell, P., Tang, K., Tuomainen, O., Chan, S. K., Beltran, K., Mirawdeli, A. and Harris, J. (2016), Identification of fluency and word-finding difficulty in samples of children with diverse language backgrounds. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. Doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12305 [DOI] [pdf] [bib]

Description: This study designed and validated a non-word repetition test (UNWR), applicable across 20 languages. It was validated by comparing groups of children identified by their speech and language symptoms as having either stuttering or WFD. This non-word repetition test validates the symptom procedure. Both the symptom procedure and the non-word repetition measure are appropriate for use with children who have diverse language backgrounds.


Study: Van Der Lely, H. K. J., & Harris, J. (1999). The Test of Phonological Structure (TOPhS). unpublished test, available from the authors.

Description: The Test of Phonological Structure (TOPhS): What is novel about this procedure is its basic prosodic design: it allows us to examine phonological abilities by systematically varying the syllabic and metrical complexity of non-words.


Study: Gallon, N., Harris, J., & Van der Lely, H. (2007). Non‐word repetition: An investigation of phonological complexity in children with Grammatical SLI. Clinical linguistics & phonetics, 21(6), 435-455.

Description: This study focused on the prosodic complexity of words, based on their syllabic and metrical (stress) structure, and investigate this using a novel non‐word repetition procedure, the Test of Phonological Structure (TOPhS). The study highlights the importance of taking into account prosodic complexity in phonological assessment and the design of non‐word repetition procedures.


Word Finding Difficulties


Study: Howell, P. (2015). Intervention for children with word-finding difficulty: Impact on fluency during spontaneous speech for children using English as their native or as an additional language. Proceedings of conference on Disfluencies in Spontaneous Speech, Edinburgh, August 2015. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1473716/ .

Description: One thing that schools request from us is some primary intervention that they can offer to children. This is to avoid delay. We have had to be very careful to design in-school interventions so that they are innocuous with respect to Speech and Language Therapists’ interventions (i.e. we do not offer any intervention that works at cross purposes with SLTs work). The intervention are another area of intensive activity on FIST.


FIST-based Research


If you used the tools developed as part of the FIST Project in your research, please send an e-mail with the reference to your work to: p.howell(at)ucl.ac.uk and kevtang(at)gmail.com

We'll be happy to promote your work in our newsletter as well as list it here.