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Evaluating Palin Stammering Therapy for School Children (Palin STSC 8-14) versus Treatment as Usual: a feasibility trial

Trial Status: Closed to recruitment - in follow up

Stammering can have a long term impact on a childÕs development, with reduced self-esteem, increased anxiety, difficulties participating in class or making friends. Approximately 66,000 school-aged children in England stammer and we need a therapy programme that is effective, cost-effective, and available to families through their local services.

One approach, Palin Stammering Therapy for School Children (8-14) (Palin STSC) aims to help children to be more confident communicators. The therapy focuses on building skills in three areas: communication skills; managing unhelpful thoughts and emotions; and, speech tools to reduce struggle when speaking. Parents are involved throughout and research shows this approach is effective when delivered at the Michael Palin Centre, where it was developed.

To find out whether Palin STSC would be as helpful for children attending other clinics for stammering, we need to test it with lots of people. Firstly, we need to carry out a small study with a few people, to see whether a larger study could work. This is the purpose of this study.

Speech and language therapists who agree to take part will be randomly placed into one of two groups. Those in the Palin STSC group will be trained in the programme, and those in the other group will carry out treatment as they usually would. Families are randomly allocated to a therapy and complete questionnaires before therapy and six months later. Interviews will be conducted with some therapists, parents and children.

This study will tell us if the research and therapy methods are acceptable, how many therapists and children are likely to take part and whether therapists are able to carry out the programme in local clinics. We can then decide whether and how to carry out a large study to find out if Palin STSC is helpful to families outside the Michael Palin Centre.