Ambiguity and Algorithms in Diagnosing Early Stuttering Comments on Ambrose and Yairi (1999) Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   June 01, 2001
Ambiguity and Algorithms in Diagnosing Early Stuttering
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark Onslow
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre The University of Sydney
  • Ann Packman
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre The University of Sydney
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   June 01, 2001
Ambiguity and Algorithms in Diagnosing Early Stuttering
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2001, Vol. 44, 593-594. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/047)
History: Received September 14, 1999 , Accepted March 27, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2001, Vol. 44, 593-594. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/047)
History: Received September 14, 1999; Accepted March 27, 2000
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1
It is well known that it is sometimes difficult to decide if a young child is stuttering. In their paper, Ambrose and Yairi (1999)  provided data on the disfluencies of 90 stuttering preschool children and 54 nonstuttering preschool children. Post hoc weighting of the children’s disfluency counts resulted in a clear demarcation between the two groups. Ambrose and Yairi therefore recommended that clinicians and researchers consider this weighting procedure when deciding whether or not a child is stuttering.
We wish to draw attention to three aspects of Ambrose and Yairi’s (1999)  report that we believe undermine their conclusions and their recommendations for differentiating stuttering from nonstuttering children. Of most concern are two methodological issues: (1) The subject selection criteria maximized the likelihood that borderline or ambiguous cases were excluded from the study, and (2) the authors used their weighting procedure in an ad hoc fashion to make unexplained overlap between the two groups disappear. We also comment that (3) in implying that some of the treated children in Lincoln and Onslow (1997)  were not stuttering, Ambrose and Yairi failed to distinguish between stuttering and disfluency. We now address these three issues in detail.
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