August 28, 2006

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Dr. Rodney Gabel
Dr. Rodney Gabel (left) discusses research results with doctoral student Derek Daniels (center) and undergraduate Adam Schlagheck.

Rodney Gabel breaks new ground in research, services to people who stutter

As if making a simple phone call or asking for directions isn’t difficult enough for someone who stutters, even worse can be the knowledge that people assume you must be nervous or not very bright.

Dr. Rodney Gabel, communication disorders, knows this firsthand. As a child, he began to stutter severely and, despite the best efforts of his teachers and parents, was unable to overcome it. It was not until he came to BGSU as an undergraduate and received therapy that he learned to communicate fluently.

Today, Gabel is heading five innovative research projects aimed at understanding the life experience of people who stutter, as well as perceptions of others surrounding stuttering. The goal is to learn how to combat public misconceptions and provide effective aid to people who stutter. He is also reaching out to people who stutter through a number of specialized, intensive clinics at the University—the only such programs in the region. (See related story.)

“We hope to serve and be better advocates for adults and kids,” said Gabel, who also serves as a consultant to school districts and founded the Bowling Green chapter of the National Stuttering Association, which Derek Daniels, one of his doctoral students, co-directs.

Helping with the research and the clinics are a number of students, including several master’s- and doctoral-level students and one undergraduate. For them, the work has provided valuable knowledge and experience not typically gained in academic settings, where the topic of stuttering is often given short shrift, according to Gabel, a board-recognized specialist in fluency disorders.


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