Background: Although there are treatments that can alleviate stuttering in adults for clinically significant periods, in Australia there are barriers to the accessibility and availability of best-practice treatment.
Aims: This parallel group, non-inferiority randomized controlled trial with multiple blinded outcome assessments investigated whether telehealth delivery of the Camperdown Program provides a non-inferior alternative to face-to-face treatment for adults who stutter.
Methods & procedures: Forty participants who presented to a university speech clinic were randomized: 20 to the telehealth arm and 20 to the face-to-face arm. Exclusion criteria were age younger than 18 years, frequency of stuttering less than 2% of syllables stuttered and previous speech-restructuring treatment within the past 12 months. The Camperdown Program for adults who stutter was the intervention. Primary outcome measures were frequency of stuttering measured in per cent syllables stuttered (%SS) before treatment and at 9 months post-randomization and efficiency, measured by counting the number of speech pathologist contact hours used by each participant. Intention to treat analysis was conducted using last observation carried forward. Secondary outcome measures were speech naturalness, self-reported stuttering severity, and treatment satisfaction.
Outcomes & results: There was no statistically or clinically significant difference in %SS between the two groups at 9 months post-randomization. Analysis of covariance adjusting for baseline %SS showed telehealth had 0.8% absolute lower per cent syllables stuttered than face-to-face. There were also no differences in %SS between groups immediately post-treatment, or at 6 months and 12 months post-treatment (p = 0.9). In the second primary outcome measure, the telehealth group used statistically less contact time (221 min) on average than the face-to-face group (95% confidence interval = - 387 to - 56 min, p = 0.01).
Conclusions & implications: The results provide evidence to support the use of the Camperdown Program delivered by telehealth as an alternate to the face-to-face treatment delivery of this programme for adults who stutter. Such a model will increase accessibility to this evidence-based treatment for adults currently isolated from treatment services.