J. Scott Yaruss

J. Scott Yaruss

Fellow

Professor
Communicative Sciences and Disorders

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Bio

J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, is a professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University. He is a licensed/certified speech-language pathologist (SLP), a board-certified specialist in fluency disorders (BCS-F), and a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). His research examines factors that contribute to the development of stuttering, the breakdown experienced during the moment of stuttering, and methods for evaluating treatment outcomes. He has published approximately 85 peer-reviewed manuscripts, more than 115 other papers, and several clinical resources, including the Overall Assessment of the Speaker's Experience of Stuttering (OASES), Early Childhood Stuttering: A Practical Guide, School-Age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide, andthe Minimizing Bullying program (all published by Stuttering Therapy Resources, Inc., which Yaruss co-owns). Yaruss has been named SLP of the Year by the National Stuttering Association (NSA) and received the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Science Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award. He has served on the NSA’s board of directors and on the steering committee of the ASHA Special Interest Group for Fluency Disorders. Yaruss teaches classes on stuttering and counseling for SLPs. He has given more than 450 continuing education workshops around the world designed to help clinicians improve their ability to help individuals who stutter.

Research Projects:

Understanding the Moment of Stuttering: The experience of stuttering involves more than just the production of speech disfluencies. To individuals who stutter, stuttering feels like a “loss of control” or a sensation that they are unable to continue speaking even though they know what they want to say. This sensation is poorly understood by scientists and clinicians—what is happening in the underlying language formulation or motor production system that leads to this sensation of being stuck? At present, we simply do not know. This research project is designed to improve our understanding of the fundamental nature of the stuttering experience for those who stutter by bringing to bear technological and clinical methods to examine the moment in time when a person who stutters experiences a speech disruption. This work has notable implications both for improving theories of stuttering and for supporting clinical intervention designed to minimize the adverse impact of stuttering on a person’s communication ability. 

Understanding the Variability of Stuttering: One of the most commonly acknowledge features of stuttering is its variability. Stuttering varies from day-to-day, week-to-week, situation-to-situation, and listener-to-listener. Although variability is widely recognized, it is very poorly understood. We have some understanding of various factors that make it more or less likely that an individual word or sentence will contain a moment of stuttering; we have much less understanding of why or how these factors combine to cause people to experience fluctuations in their stuttering behavior such that they can speak fluently at some times of the day or in some situations but have great difficulty in producing speech at other times or in other situations. This variability causes significant distress for people who stutter, parents of children who stutter, clinicians who are seeking to treat stuttering, and researchers who wish to relate stuttering behavior to various underlying aspects of a person’s neurological, linguistic, or motor development. This research project is designed to shed light on the experience of variability to better understand who is affected by variability, why this variability occurs, whether a true representative sample of speech can be obtained in research or clinical samples, that accounts for variability, whether the variability can be diminished through therapy, and what the consequences of variability are for the impact of stuttering on people’s lives. Implications for clinical work, research, and education of speech-language pathologists are significant, for without understanding the variability of stuttering, nearly every measure of the stuttering behavior that has ever been made in a clinical or scientific setting can be called into question.

Courses Taught:

CSD 830 (Fluency Disorders)

CSD 888 (Counseling for Communication Disorders)


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