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Part 1 Manual

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PART ONE: COUNTING SYLLABLES

Please note, this is the text from the manual placed here for your convenience. The manual is also a work book and you will want to refer to it for other useful resources.

The general purpose of this section is for you to learn to count accurately the syllables produced by a speaker and to be able to do this online, that is, while the speaker is talking. Part One is also designed to help you learn to recognize various speeds of speech. Speed of speech, also referred to as speech rate, is an important dimension of a speaker's speech pattern and one that changes as a function of treatment. While typical nonstuttering adults generally speak at speech rates between 170 and 220 syllables per minute (SPM), most stuttering speakers display overall speech rates that are slower than that (Bloodstein, 1981). This is primarily because moments of stuttering take up time, thus allowing the production of fewer communicative syllables per unit of time and therefore the communication of less information in a given amount of time. On the other hand, while the speech rate of a person who stutters may seem to be slow, when stutter- free segments of that speech are measured - this has been referred to as articulatory rate by some writers (Perkins, 1975; Costello & Ingham, 1984), some are found to speak at exceedingly fast rates. Thus, a measure of speech rate is one important descriptor of a person's speech pattern.

Pretreatment measures of speech rate will contribute to decisions regarding the kind of treatment that may be appropriate for a client. Some treatments rely on systematic, progressive changes in speech rate (Ryan, 1974; Ingham, 1984); therefore, ongoing speech rate measures can be important to the treatment process as well. Further, at the completion of treatment, measures of speech rate are necessary to determine that speech rate has become normalized.

The speech samples of Part One are taken from the speech of people who do not stutter. The speech samples vary in length, beginning with 1-minute samples and progressing to 2- and 3-minute samples. They also vary in speed, beginning with relatively slow rates and progressing to more rapid rates. Following is a list of directions explaining how to get started. Read through the list before performing any of the operations. Then return to #1 and carry out the directions.

  1. Place your computer in a comfortable place so that you can readily see the computer screen, use the mouse buttons, and view and control the samples on the website. You have previously set the SMS program to record data from Sample, 1 with the screen showing the clock at :00 and both SYL and STUT counts at 000. So your desktop can host both the video and the SMS window, you may resize your browser window or click the Hide all but Video link above the video.
  2. Press the Play button of the sample video. Before you begin counting syllables, listen to the first 30 seconds or so of the sample to calibrate your ear.
  3. Now you are nearly ready to try your hand at counting the syllables produced by the first speaker. Your task is to count (i.e., depress the left mouse button for) every syllable that the speaker produces, including um's and well's and other insertions, as long as they are able to be spelled. Be sure to count what the talker actually says, without being influenced by how you might say the word or by how it is spelled.
  4. Select Sample 1 on the menu of the website. When the sample begins, immediately click on the SMS program to start the SMS timer and begin counting syllables by depressing the syllable mouse button once for each syllable spoken. (For Part One talking samples you will ignore the right mouse button.) Sample 1 is one minute in duration and the SMS will automatically stop accepting syllable counts at the end of one minute (because you have set the run time for 60 seconds).
  5. When 1 minute has elapsed, the SMS will automatically display the total syllable counts on the screen. You'll see a box that shows the number of syllables counted (SYL) and below it, the speech of speech in syllables per minute (SPM). Of course, when data are collected for precisely 60 seconds, those numbers will be the same. The boxes related to stutter counts will remain empty at this point.
  6. Next, turn to the section of the workbook that contains the summary data for Part One. There you will find a summary data sheet to be used for recording your data for the sample. On the section of the data sheet labeled Step 1, Sample 1, record the number of syllables you counted in the 1 column (first attempt). Then compare your number to the Target Range of acceptable counts shown on the data sheet for that sample. These numbers represent the range from 5% below to 5% above the exact number of syllables spoken in the sample. For most purposes, this level of accuracy is quite adequate and sensitive as a measure of a client's speed of speech.
  7. If your count is not within the acceptable range:
    • Click on the sample in order to play/count it again. On the SMS screen in the box labeled Continue, click on Make another run with and click OK (or, touch Enter). This will produce a new data collection screen for Sample 1, this one labeled Run 2.
    • Repeat the process described in items 5-7, except record the number of syllables you counted in the 2 column of the data sheet (second attempt). Once again compare your number to the acceptable range. If your count is still not in that range, repeat the entire process a third time and record your completed syllable count in the 3 column on the data sheet. Then again, compare your data with the Target Range.
    • If, after three attempts, your count is still not within the acceptable range, click on the sample video once again. Then, find the transcript of that sample in the workbook. Transcripts of each sample can be found in numerical order on the pages immediately following each data summary sheet. This time, replay the sample and recount the syllables while reading along on the transcript, where every 50th syllable is marked. You may want to stop periodically to see that your count is closely matching that shown on the transcript or to try to figure out the source of differences between your count and the count on the transcript. Words that might be particularly susceptible to recording errors are noted on the transcript by dots above each syllable spoken, thus indicating the number of syllables counted for that speaker's rendition. Record your total syllable count in column 4 of the data sheet.
    • After you have worked through the transcript, click on the sample video once again and recount the syllables, without benefit of the transcript. Record the data in column 5 of the data sheet beside the appropriate sample number. Your count should be within the acceptable range by now.
  8. When your count is within the Target Range of acceptability, you are ready to go on to the next sample. Repeat the process of adding a new subject, which will be Sample 2, as follows:
    • On the SMS screen in the box labeled Continue, click Return to the Main Menu and touch OK. In the row at the top of the screen click on Add Subject.
    • Label this as 2 in place of a First Name, sample as the Last Name, click on Add and then on Close.
    • From the top row, click on SMS; click OK indicating all other programs are turned off. When the Run Configuration screen appears, check to see that all the settings are appropriate. They should be unchanged from the settings utilized for Sample 1. Click OK and now you're ready to follow the procedure described above (items 2-9) for Sample 2. You may move from one sample to the next one by clicking the Next link underneath the video's right edge.
    • Continue counting syllables in this fashion through Steps 1, 2, and 3 (Samples 1 through 9). Before you begin syllable counts for Steps 4 and 5, be sure to read the following paragraphs.

Instructions Regarding Steps 4 and 5

The talking samples of Steps 4 and 5 are 2 and 3 minutes long, respectively, and are mixed across normal, normally fast, and fast speaking rates. The process for recording data for Step 4, Samples 10-12, is the same that you have followed previously (add New Subject, labeled 10, or 11, or 12, etc., except you will type in 120 seconds as the run time on the Run Configuration screen and click on OK. All other parameters will remain the same. For Step 5, Samples 13-15, set the run time for 180 seconds.

As before, continue counting syllables until the speech sample is over. This time, when you record your count on the data sheet you will note that there are two kinds of data to report: total number of syllables spoken (top line), the data you have been recording thus far, plus speech rate -- in syllables per minute (SPM) (lower line). The computer calculates SPM by dividing the total number of syllables counted by the total amount of talking time in minutes (to 0.1 min.). Record both of these numbers from the data summary screen and compare your data to the acceptable Target Ranges shown on the summary data sheet. As previously, when your count is not within the Target Range, repeat the sample until it is. When it is within the Target Range, move ahead to the next sample. When you have completed all of Part One (through Sample 15), return to the workbook for instructions regarding Part Two.