Orofacial Muscle Activity of Children Who Stutter: A Preliminary Study This study was a preliminary investigation of the relations between stuttering development and the maturation of speech motor processes. Electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded from the orofacial muscles of children who stutter and their normally fluent peers during fluent and disfluent speech. Nine children who stutter (8 boys and 1 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1995
Orofacial Muscle Activity of Children Who Stutter: A Preliminary Study
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ellen M. Kelly
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Anne Smith
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Lisa Goffman
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: Ellen M. Kelly, PhD, Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences, Purdue University, 1353 Heavilon Hall, West Lafayette, IN 47907–1353. E-mail: emkelly@sage.cc.purdue.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1995
Orofacial Muscle Activity of Children Who Stutter: A Preliminary Study
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 1025-1036. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.1025
History: Received December 22, 1994 , Accepted April 5, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 1025-1036. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.1025
History: Received December 22, 1994; Accepted April 5, 1995

This study was a preliminary investigation of the relations between stuttering development and the maturation of speech motor processes. Electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded from the orofacial muscles of children who stutter and their normally fluent peers during fluent and disfluent speech. Nine children who stutter (8 boys and 1 girl), ranging in age from 2:7 to 14:0, and 9 age- and sex-matched children who do not stutter were subjects. Pairs of surface EMG electrodes were placed on children’s faces overlying the anterior belly of the digastric (ABD), levator labii superior (ULIP), and orbicularis oris inferior (LLIP) muscles. Twenty segments of stuttered (for the children who stutter) and perceptually fluent speech were extracted from children’s conversational speech samples. Spectra of the amplitude envelopes of the EMG activity were computed. The 3 oldest children who stutter showed evidence of tremorlike oscillations of EMG activity in the 5 to 15 Hz range during stuttering in either ULIP, LLIP, or ABD muscles. The younger children who stutter and the children who do not stutter demonstrated primary spectral peaks in the 1 to 4 Hz range during stuttered and/or perceptually fluent speech. It is hypothesized that the emergence of tremorlike instabilities in the speech motor processes of children who stutter may coincide with aspects of their general neural maturation and with the development of stuttering.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to Ellen M. Kelly (DC00073) and Anne Smith (DC00559) of Purdue University. Gratitude is extended to June Stealy, Jane Martin, Cindy Krizizke, and Goangshiuan Ying for their assistance with data collection and/or analysis. We also would like to thank E. Charles Healey, associate editor, and Peter Alfonso and Susan Miller, reviewers, for their insightful comments and suggestions regarding this manuscript. Our deepest appreciation is extended to the children who participated in this study and their parents, for their enthusiasm, cooperation, and patience.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access