Evidence That a Motor Timing Deficit Is a Factor in the Development of Stuttering PurposeTo determine whether young children who stutter have a basic motor timing and/or a coordination deficit.MethodBetween-hands coordination and variability of rhythmic motor timing were assessed in 17 children who stutter (4–6 years of age) and 13 age-matched controls. Children clapped in rhythm with a metronome with a 600-ms interbeat interval ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2010
Evidence That a Motor Timing Deficit Is a Factor in the Development of Stuttering
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lindsey Olander
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Anne Smith
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Howard N. Zelaznik
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: Anne Smith, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, 1353 Heavilon Hall, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038. E-mail: asmith@purdue.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech
Article   |   August 01, 2010
Evidence That a Motor Timing Deficit Is a Factor in the Development of Stuttering
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 876-886. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/09-0007)
History: Received January 14, 2009 , Revised August 24, 2009 , Accepted December 1, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 876-886. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/09-0007)
History: Received January 14, 2009; Revised August 24, 2009; Accepted December 1, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 20

PurposeTo determine whether young children who stutter have a basic motor timing and/or a coordination deficit.

MethodBetween-hands coordination and variability of rhythmic motor timing were assessed in 17 children who stutter (4–6 years of age) and 13 age-matched controls. Children clapped in rhythm with a metronome with a 600-ms interbeat interval and then attempted to continue to match this target rate for 32 unpaced claps.

ResultsChildren who stutter did not significantly differ from children who were typically developing on mean clapping rate or number of usable trials produced; however, they produced remarkably higher variability levels of interclap interval. Of particular interest was the bimodal distribution of the stuttering children on clapping variability. One subgroup of children who stutter clustered within the normal range, but 60% of the children who stutter exhibited timing variability that was greater than the poorest performing nonstuttering child. Children who stutter were not more variable in measures of coordination between the 2 hands (mean and median phase difference between hands).

ConclusionWe infer that there is a subgroup of young stuttering children who exhibit a nonspeech motor timing deficit, and we discuss this result as it pertains to recovery or persistence of stuttering.

Acknowledgment
This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant DC00559. We thank Barbara Brown and Janna Berlin for their help in participant recruitment and testing.
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