Dr. Paul Blanchet, Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, is currently examining listeners’ perceptions of people with communication disorders, particularly stuttering and/or cluttering. As a person who stutters (PWS), Dr. Blanchet decided to initiate this line of research in 2005. It has grown into a multi-study, transdisciplinary endeavor encompassing students, alumni, and faculty from various fields (e.g., psychology, sociology).

Dr. Paul Blanchet with his research team

Findings of this study will add further support for clinical use of self-disclosure, which is also referred to as “acknowledgment” or “advertising” in some stuttering treatment programs. Although this strategy has been utilized to great effect by many PWS for decades, there is a need for further empirical research demonstrating the benefits of disclosure. Clinically, self-disclosure is a simple yet extraordinarily powerful strategy that encourages openness and honesty, and facilitates positive communicative interactions among PWS and their listeners. Some clients view it as giving them permission to stutter, and it is often useful when working on becoming desensitized to stuttering. It is one of many such coping strategies discussed in the Baylor University Speech-Language Clinic Stuttering Support Group, which Dr. Blanchet co-founded in 2015 with Baylor’s CSD Clinic Coordinator, Mrs. Deborah Rainer.

At the 2014 Oxford Dysfluency Conference, many professionals were encouraging of Dr. Blanchet’s research, including staff from the prestigious Michael Palin Center in London, UK. Dr. Blanchet has since conducted several follow-up studies including one that examines the effects of self-disclosure (or acknowledgment) of stuttering on university students’ perceptions of a person who stutters. A URC grant enabled him to hire six undergraduate research assistants to assist with data collection and data entry. More information about Dr. Blanchet’s research is available in the RCHHS Newsletter.