Australian researchers studied the benefits of the parent-reported severity scale for childhood stuttering. This system is based on a scale of 1 to 10 in which “1” represents no stuttering and “10” represents extremely severe stuttering. In the study, data was analyzed from three previous randomized controlled trials. From their findings, researchers concluded that the popular Percent Syllables Stuttered (PSS) was in no way a superior method when compared with the parent-reported severity scale. The Australian research suggests that parent-reported severity ratings provide the following benefits:

  • Faster than PSS; less time spent counting syllables
  • Easier than PSS; simpler to collect data
  • Provides an evaluation of a child’s progress throughout an entire week, rather than from a single sample
  • Can be used to track progress

A clinician may be required by their job to use PSS, however they may find instances in which the parent-reported severity scale can be employed. Although parent-reported severity ratings are a good measure of progress for children with severe stuttering, like PSS they are not a good measure of progress for mild stuttering (i.e. a child who stutters 2-3% of syllables or who has been marked approximately “1” or “2” on the severity scale). In these cases, clinicians may need to find other ways to achieve results. It is advised that therapists choose a single method (i.e. either PSS or the parent-reported severity scale) to treat a child rather than employing them interchangeably.