Preliminary Evidence That Growth in Productive Language Differentiates Childhood Stuttering Persistence and Recovery Purpose Childhood stuttering is common but is often outgrown. Children whose stuttering persists experience significant life impacts, calling for a better understanding of what factors may underlie eventual recovery. In previous research, language ability has been shown to differentiate children who stutter (CWS) from children who do not stutter, yet ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 09, 2017
Preliminary Evidence That Growth in Productive Language Differentiates Childhood Stuttering Persistence and Recovery
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathryn A. Leech
    University of Maryland, College Park
    Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
  • Nan Bernstein Ratner
    University of Maryland, College Park
  • Barbara Brown
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Christine M. Weber
    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 Kathryn A. Leech: kleech@bu.edu
  • Editor: Julie Liss
    Editor: Julie Liss×
  • Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt
    Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 09, 2017
Preliminary Evidence That Growth in Productive Language Differentiates Childhood Stuttering Persistence and Recovery
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3097-3109. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0371
History: Received September 19, 2016 , Revised March 6, 2017 , Accepted May 27, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3097-3109. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0371
History: Received September 19, 2016; Revised March 6, 2017; Accepted May 27, 2017

Purpose Childhood stuttering is common but is often outgrown. Children whose stuttering persists experience significant life impacts, calling for a better understanding of what factors may underlie eventual recovery. In previous research, language ability has been shown to differentiate children who stutter (CWS) from children who do not stutter, yet there is an active debate in the field regarding what, if any, language measures may mark eventual recovery versus persistence. In this study, we examined whether growth in productive language performance may better predict the probability of recovery compared to static profiles taken from a single time point.

Method Productive syntax and vocabulary diversity growth rates were calculated for 50 CWS using random coefficient models. Logistic regression models were then used to determine whether growth rates uniquely predict likelihood of recovery, as well as if these rates were predictive over and above currently identified correlates of stuttering onset and recovery.

Results Different linguistic profiles emerged between children who went on to recover versus those who persisted. Children who had steeper productive syntactic growth, but not vocabulary diversity growth, were more likely to recover by study end. Moreover, this effect held after controlling for initial language ability at study onset as well as demographic covariates.

Conclusions Results are discussed in terms of how growth estimates can be incorporated in recommendations for fostering productive language skills among CWS. The need for additional research on language in early stuttering and recovery is suggested.

Acknowledgments
This work was funded by NIH-NIDCD DC000559, awarded to Christine M. Weber. We are grateful to Patricia Zebrowski and her research team at the University of Iowa for obtaining some of the language samples utilized in this study. Thank you to the student research assistants of the Purdue Stuttering Project for assisting in the initial language sample transcriptions.
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