Western Carolina University

WESTERN PROFESSOR DAVID SHAPIRO                                                                                                    

Image: David Shapiro (standing) works with Japanese speech therapist and doctoral student Shoko Miyamoto, who visited WCU in 2002. (WCU file photo).
David Shapiro (standing) works with Japanese speech therapist and doctoral student Shoko Miyamoto, who visited WCU in 2002. (WCU file photo).

David A. Shapiro, professor of communication sciences and disorders at Western Carolina University and one of the nation's top speech-language pathologists, is recipient of an international award in recognition of his treatment of people who stutter and their families in different cultures around the world.

Shapiro received the International Fluency Association Award of Distinction for Outstanding Clinician as part of the organization's Fifth World Congress on Fluency Disorders in Dublin, Ireland, earlier this summer. The IFA is an interdisciplinary organization devoted to the understanding and management of fluency disorders and to improvement in the quality of life for people with fluency disorders in all parts of the world.

“Dr. Shapiro has had a positive impact on the profession of speech-language pathology,” said Amy Weiss of the University of Rhode Island communicative disorders faculty and chair of the IFA awards committee. “But in my opinion, the biggest impact David Shapiro has made is on the lives of people who stutter and their families around the world – through his international presentations, through his research and writing, through his mentorship of clinicians, through his delivery of clinical services, and through his unique accessibility, patience and genuine caring.”

A member of the WCU faculty since 1984, Shapiro has traveled across the globe, visiting the nations of Australia, Cameroon, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Jamaica and Japan to conduct cross-cultural comparisons of stuttering intervention techniques in different countries in an effort to determine best treatment practices. His efforts have resulted in the formation of a coordinated international research team involving 17 clinicians and researchers from 14 nations across six continents.

A prolific researcher with more than 50 published works and 100 professional presentations to his credit, Shapiro is author of the 1999 text “Stuttering Intervention: A Collaborative Journey to Fluency Freedom.” Adopted by numerous communication science and disorders programs at colleges and universities worldwide, the book dispels common myths about stuttering and presents Shapiro's unique assessment and treatment methods. After overcoming his own stuttering disorder, he developed strategies that actively involve family and friends of those being treated.

Shapiro is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a professional organization of more than 110,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists and hearing scientists. The University of North Carolina system recognized him in 1999 with the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Billy T. Ogletree, director of WCU's program in communication sciences and disorders, called Shapiro “a scholar in every sense of the word” and “a unique individual with a truly caring spirit,” and said his colleague possesses personal values that are rare today.

“When I learned of his nomination for this award, I sat down in his office to congratulate him. His response was one of honest humility, saying ‘How can I claim to have made a great contribution to the welfare of the human race,'” Ogletree said. “I told him that the human race is made up of individuals, and that he opens the door of opportunity for every child or adult he helps to become fluent. That door leads to discoveries and accomplishments that fundamentally change our world.”

For example, Ogletree said, most scholars of the Bible believe that Moses was disfluent, which, from Moses' perspective, hampered him from being an agent of change for the nation of Israel. But Moses found a fluent voice in his brother, Aaron, and went on to alter history, he said.

“Time will provide the next Moses, and David Shapiro may well be his source of fluency,” he said.

For information on services provided through WCU's Speech and Hearing Center, call (828) 227-7251.

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Last modified: Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Western Carolina University