Evidence That Bimanual Motor Timing Performance Is Not a Significant Factor in Developmental Stuttering Purpose Stuttering involves a breakdown in the speech motor system. We address whether stuttering in its early stage is specific to the speech motor system or whether its impact is observable across motor systems. Method As an extension of Olander, Smith, and Zelaznik (2010), we measured bimanual motor ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2016
Evidence That Bimanual Motor Timing Performance Is Not a Significant Factor in Developmental Stuttering
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Allison I. Hilger
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Howard Zelaznik
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Anne Smith
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Anne Smith: asmith@purdue.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt
    Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / School-Based Settings / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2016
Evidence That Bimanual Motor Timing Performance Is Not a Significant Factor in Developmental Stuttering
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2016, Vol. 59, 674-685. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0172
History: Received May 11, 2015 , Revised October 28, 2015 , Accepted November 25, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2016, Vol. 59, 674-685. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0172
History: Received May 11, 2015; Revised October 28, 2015; Accepted November 25, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose Stuttering involves a breakdown in the speech motor system. We address whether stuttering in its early stage is specific to the speech motor system or whether its impact is observable across motor systems.

Method As an extension of Olander, Smith, and Zelaznik (2010), we measured bimanual motor timing performance in 115 children: 70 children who stutter (CWS) and 45 children who do not stutter (CWNS). The children repeated the clapping task yearly for up to 5 years. We used a synchronization-continuation rhythmic timing paradigm. Two analyses were completed: a cross-sectional analysis of data from the children in the initial year of the study (ages 4;0 [years;months] to 5;11) compared clapping performance between CWS and CWNS. A second, multiyear analysis assessed clapping behavior across the ages 3;5–9;5 to examine any potential relationship between clapping performance and eventual persistence or recovery of stuttering.

Results Preschool CWS were not different from CWNS on rates of clapping or variability in interclap interval. In addition, no relationship was found between bimanual motor timing performance and eventual persistence in or recovery from stuttering. The disparity between the present findings for preschoolers and those of Olander et al. (2010)  most likely arises from the smaller sample size used in the earlier study.

Conclusion From the current findings, on the basis of data from relatively large samples of stuttering and nonstuttering children tested over multiple years, we conclude that a bimanual motor timing deficit is not a core feature of early developmental stuttering.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Grant DC00559 from the National Institute of Health's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Our thanks to Barbara Brown and Janna Berlin for their help in subject recruitment and testing and to Anna Bostian for her comments on earlier drafts of the article.
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