Stuttered and Normal Speech Events in Early Childhood The Validity of a Behavioral Data Language Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1992
Stuttered and Normal Speech Events in Early Childhood
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark Onslow
    Cumberland College of Health Sciences The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Kate Gardner
    Muswellbrook Hospital Sydney, Australia
  • Kathryn M. Bryant
    Stuttering Unit, Lidcombe Hospital Sydney, Australia
  • Cathi L. Stuckings
    The Spastic Centre Sydney, Australia
  • Tamsin Knight
    Schools Therapy Team Department of Family and Community Services Sydney, Australia
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1992
Stuttered and Normal Speech Events in Early Childhood
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 79-87. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.79
History: Received June 21, 1990 , Accepted March 26, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 79-87. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.79
History: Received June 21, 1990; Accepted March 26, 1991

A set of 200 utterances from stuttering and normally speaking children aged 2–4 years was obtained. Each utterance contained a disfluency. A group of 5 sophisticated listeners assigned one of Johnson’s eight disfluency categories to each of the 200 utterances. These clinicians showed poor agreement in the categories they assigned. Subsequently, the 200 disfluencies were presented to a group of generalist clinician listeners and a group of unsophisticated listeners, who were asked to judge whether each disfluency was "stuttering" or "normal." The disfluencies judged with high agreement to be "stuttering" and the disfluencies judged with high agreement to be "normal" were not categorically distinguished by the disfluency categories assigned previously by the sophisticated listeners. Further, judged presence of various disfluency categories accounted for only a small portion of the variance in numbers of "stuttering" judgments assigned to disfluencies. It is concluded that it is justifiable to question the validity of the data language used by researchers to describe stuttered and normal speech in early childhood. Several implications of this conclusion are discussed.

Acknowledgments
The authors appreciate the participation of clinicians in the Sydney metropolitan area and undergraduate students of Cumberland College of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, in the conduct of this study. In particular, we gratefully acknowledge the patience, support, and cooperation of clinicians at the Stuttering Unit, Sydney, without whom this study could not have been conducted: Leanne Costa, Cheryl Andrews, Kerry Plumer, Sue O’Brian, and Elisabeth Harrison. Some of our colleagues made important contributions to the preparation of the manuscript: Elisabeth Harrison, Vicki Reed, Cheryl Andrews, Ann Packman, and Sue-Ellen Linville. The authors appreciate the important contribution made to this paper by Barry Guitar and his journal reviewers Dick Curlee and Howard Schwartz.
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