Speech disfluencies of preschool-age children who do and do not stutter

Victoria Tumanova, Edward G. Conture, E. Warren Lambert, Tedra A. Walden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The goals of the present study were to investigate whether (1) the speech disfluencies of preschool-age children are normally distributed; (2) preschool-age children who do (CWS) and do not stutter (CWNS) differ in terms of non-stuttered disfluencies; (3) age, gender, and speech-language ability affect the number and type of disfluencies children produce; and (4) parents' expressed concern that their child stutters is associated with examiners' judgments of stuttered disfluency. Method: Four hundred and seventy two children participated, of which 228 were CWS (56 girls), and 244 CWNS (119 girls). Participants provided conversational speech samples that were analyzed for frequency of occurrence of (a) stuttered disfluencies, (b) non-stuttered disfluencies, and (c) total disfluencies. Results: Results indicated that the underlying distributions of preschool-age children's stuttered and non-stuttered disfluency counts followed a negative binomial distribution (i.e., were not normal), with more children "piling up" at the low end [none or few disfluencies] and fewer children scoring in the upper [more severe stuttering] end of the distribution. Findings also indicated that non-stuttered disfluencies significantly predicted CWS/CWNS talker group classification, information that may be helpful to augment, but not supplant, talker group classification criteria based on stuttered disfluencies. Moreover, expressed parental concern about stuttering was strongly associated with frequency of stuttered disfluencies. Conclusion: Findings suggest that the entirety of preschool-age CWS' speech disfluencies - non-stuttered as well as stuttered - differs from that of their CWNS peers and that because these disfluencies are not normally distributed statistical analyses assuming normality of distribution are not the most appropriate means to assess these differences. In addition, certain "third-order" variables (e.g., gender) appear to impact frequency of children's disfluencies and expressed parental concerns about stuttering are meaningfully related to examiners' judgments of stuttered disfluencies.Learning outcomes: The reader will recognize differences in speech disfluencies of preschool-age children who do and do not stutter. The reader will recognize whether age, gender and speech-language ability affect the number and type of disfluencies children produce. The reader will describe whether parental concern about stuttering is associated with examiners' judgments of stuttering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-41
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
Volume49
Issue numberC
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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Keywords

  • Parental concern
  • Preschool-age children
  • Speech disfluencies
  • Stuttering
  • Talker-group classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing

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