Characteristics of Disfluency Clusters Over Time in Preschool Children Who Stutter PurposeDisfluency clusters in preschool children were analyzed to determine whether they occurred at rates above chance, whether they changed over time, and whether they could differentiate children who would later persist in, or recover from, stuttering.MethodThirty-two children recruited near stuttering onset were grouped on the basis of their eventual course ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2010
Characteristics of Disfluency Clusters Over Time in Preschool Children Who Stutter
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jean Sawyer
    Illinois State University, Normal
  • Ehud Yairi
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Contact author: Jean Sawyer, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Illinois State University, 204 Fairchild Hall, Normal, IL 61790-4720. E-mail: jsawyer@ilstu.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech
Article   |   October 01, 2010
Characteristics of Disfluency Clusters Over Time in Preschool Children Who Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2010, Vol. 53, 1191-1205. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0067)
History: Received April 13, 2009 , Revised August 26, 2009 , Accepted January 25, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2010, Vol. 53, 1191-1205. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0067)
History: Received April 13, 2009; Revised August 26, 2009; Accepted January 25, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

PurposeDisfluency clusters in preschool children were analyzed to determine whether they occurred at rates above chance, whether they changed over time, and whether they could differentiate children who would later persist in, or recover from, stuttering.

MethodThirty-two children recruited near stuttering onset were grouped on the basis of their eventual course of stuttering and matched to 16 normally fluent children. Clusters were classified as stuttering-like disfluencies (SLD), other disfluencies (OD), or mixed (SLD and OD combined). Cluster frequency and length were calculated for all children and again after 6 months for those who stuttered.

ResultsClusters occurred at rates greater than chance for both stuttering and normally fluent children. Children who stuttered had significantly more and longer clusters than did normally fluent children. Close to stuttering onset, clusters did not differentiate the course of stuttering. Cluster frequency and length decreased over time for children in the persistent and recovered groups. The proportion of disfluencies in clusters was significantly lower in the recovered group than it was in the persistent group after 6 months.

ConclusionsClusters are an integral part of disfluent speech in preschool children in general. Although they do not serve as indicators of recovery or persistency at the onset of stuttering, they may have some prognostic value several months later.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01-DC05210.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access