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J Fluency Disord [journal]
- A preliminary investigation of phonological encoding skills in children who stutter. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural]
- J Fluency Disord 2013 Mar; 38(1):45-58.
The present study investigated phonological encoding skills in children who stutter (CWS) and those who do not (CNS). Participants were 9 CWS (M=11.8 years, SD=1.5) and 9 age and sex matched CNS (M=11.8 years, SD=1.5).Participants monitored target phonemes located at syllable onsets and offsets of bisyllabic words. Performance in the phoneme monitoring task was compared to an auditory tone monitoring task.Repeated measures analysis of the response time data revealed significant Group×Task×Position interaction with the CWS becoming progressively slower than the CNS in monitoring subsequent phonemes located within the bisyllabic words; differences were not observed in the auditory tone monitoring task. Repeated measures analysis of the error data indicated that the groups were comparable in the percent errors in phoneme vs. tone monitoring. The CWS group was also significantly slower in a picture naming task compared to the CNS.Present findings suggest that CWS experience temporal asynchronies in one or more processes leading up to phoneme monitoring. The findings are interpreted within the scope of contemporary theories of stuttering.At the end of this activity the reader will be able to: (a) discuss the literature on phonological encoding skills in children who stutter, (b) identify theories of phonological encoding in stuttering, (c) define the process of phonological encoding and its implications for fluent speech, (d) suggest future areas of research in the investigation of phonological encoding abilities in children who stutter.
- Effects of sentence-structure complexity on speech initiation time and disfluency. [Journal Article]
- J Fluency Disord 2013 Mar; 38(1):30-44.
There is general agreement that stuttering is caused by a variety of factors, and language formulation and speech motor control are two important factors that have been implicated in previous research, yet the exact nature of their effects is still not well understood. Our goal was to test the hypothesis that sentences of high structural complexity would incur greater processing costs than sentences of low structural complexity and these costs would be higher for adults who stutter than for adults who do not stutter. Fluent adults and adults who stutter participated in an experiment that required memorization of a sentence classified as low or high structural complexity followed by production of that sentence upon a visual cue. Both groups of speakers initiated most sentences significantly faster in the low structural complexity condition than in the high structural complexity condition. Adults who stutter were over-all slower in speech initiation than were fluent speakers, but there were no significant interactions between complexity and group. However, adults who stutter produced significantly more disfluencies in sentences of high structural complexity than in those of low complexity.After reading this article, the learner will be able to: (a) identify integral parts of all well-known models of adult sentence production; (b) summarize the way that sentence structure might negatively influence the speech production processes; (c) discuss whether sentence structure influences speech initiation time and disfluencies.
- The impact of stuttering on adults who stutter and their partners. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- J Fluency Disord 2013 Mar; 38(1):14-29.
This study explored the impact of the stuttering disorder on perceived quality of life, with emphasis on the individual's relationship with their partner or spouse. Specifically, the purposes were: (a) to investigate what personal experiences and themes exist for both members of a couple dyad when one member of the couple stutters and (b) to examine whether the partners have different experiences with respect to the impact of stuttering on their lives. A mixed method research design was used. Participant dyads (adults who stutter and their fluent life partner) each completed one semi-structured qualitative interview and two questionnaires: the Overall Assessment of Speakers' Experience of Stuttering (OASES), and the Medical Short Form 36 (SF-36). Interviews were analysed qualitatively and significant themes evaluated. Quantitative results of the OASES and SF-36 were analysed, and scores correlated to determine the strength of any clinically significant relationships. Results indicated that people who stutter and their fluent partners reported similar experiences in reactions to stuttering and perceived difficulties in communication. However, no relationship was seen between the two groups in perceived impact on quality of life. Qualitative results indicated that the participants shared life experiences including reactions to stuttering, treatment undertaken and support. Such findings lend support to a broad-based clinical programme for adults who stutter that includes the fluent partner as an agent of change in their treatment. Findings also support the utilisation of qualitative and quantitative research techniques to elucidate relevant psychosocial life themes and experiences for those who live with a stutter.The reader will be able to: (a) identify the life themes associated with having a partner who stutters; (b) identify the perceived impact of stuttering for adults who stutter compared to their partners; and (c) discuss the clinical implications of the results with regards to working with adults who stutter.
- Inhibitory control in childhood stuttering. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- J Fluency Disord 2013 Mar; 38(1):1-13.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether previously reported parental questionnaire-based differences in inhibitory control (IC; Eggers, De Nil, & Van den Bergh, 2010) would be supported by direct measurement of IC using a computer task.Participants were 30 children who stutter (CWS; mean age=7;05 years) and 30 children who not stutter (CWNS; mean age=7;05 years). Participants were matched on age and gender (±3 months). IC was assessed by the Go/NoGo task of the Amsterdam Neuropsychological Tasks (De Sonneville, 2009).Results indicated that CWS, compared to CWNS, (a) exhibited more false alarms and premature responses, (b) showed lower reaction times for false alarms, and (c) were less able to adapt their response style after experiencing response errors.Our findings provide further support for the hypothesis that CWS and CWNS differ on IC. CWS, as a group, were lower in IC pointing toward a lowered ability to inhibit prepotent response tendencies. The findings were linked to previous IC-related studies and to emerging theoretical frameworks of stuttering development.The reader will be able to: (1) describe the concept of inhibitory control, and its functional significance; (2) describe the findings on self-regulatory processes, attentional processes, and inhibitory control in CWS; (3) identify which Go/NoGo task variables differentiated between CWS and CWNS; and (4) summarize the theoretical implications for the development of stuttering and the possible clinical implications.
- Reduced activation of left orbitofrontal cortex precedes blocked vocalization: a magnetoencephalographic study. [Case Reports, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- J Fluency Disord 2012 Dec; 37(4):359-65.
While stuttering is known to be characterized by anomalous brain activations during speech, very little data is available describing brain activations during stuttering. To our knowledge there are no reports describing brain activations that precede blocking. In this case report we present magnetoencephalographic data from a person who stutters who had significant instances of blocking whilst performing a vowel production task. This unique data set has allowed us to compare the brain activations leading up to a block with those leading up to successful production. Surprisingly, the results are very consistent with data comparing fluent production in stutterers to controls. We show here that preceding a block there is significantly less activation of the left orbitofrontal and inferiorfrontal cortices. Furthermore, there is significant extra activation in the right orbitofrontal and inferiorfrontal cortices, and the sensorimotor and auditory areas bilaterally. This data adds weight to the argument forwarded by Kell et al. (2009) that the best functional sign of optimal repair in stutterering is activation of the left BA 47/12 in the orbitofrontal cortex.At the end of this activity the reader will be able to (a) identify brain regions associated with blocked vocalization, (b) discuss the functions of the orbitofrontal and inferior frontal cortices in regard to speech production and (c) describe the usefulness and limitations of magnetoencephalography (MEG) in stuttering research.
- Language and motor abilities of preschool children who stutter: evidence from behavioral and kinematic indices of nonword repetition performance. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural]
- J Fluency Disord 2012 Dec; 37(4):344-58.
Stuttering is a disorder of speech production that typically arises in the preschool years, and many accounts of its onset and development implicate language and motor processes as critical underlying factors. There have, however, been very few studies of speech motor control processes in preschool children who stutter. Hearing novel nonwords and reproducing them engages multiple neural networks, including those involved in phonological analysis and storage and speech motor programming and execution. We used this task to explore speech motor and language abilities of 31 children aged 4-5 years who were diagnosed as stuttering. We also used sensitive and specific standardized tests of speech and language abilities to determine which of the children who stutter had concomitant language and/or phonological disorders. Approximately half of our sample of stuttering children had language and/or phonological disorders. As previous investigations would suggest, the stuttering children with concomitant language or speech sound disorders produced significantly more errors on the nonword repetition task compared to typically developing children. In contrast, the children who were diagnosed as stuttering, but who had normal speech sound and language abilities, performed the nonword repetition task with equal accuracy compared to their normally fluent peers. Analyses of interarticulator motions during accurate and fluent productions of the nonwords revealed that the children who stutter (without concomitant disorders) showed higher variability in oral motor coordination indices. These results provide new evidence that preschool children diagnosed as stuttering lag their typically developing peers in maturation of speech motor control processes.The reader will be able to: (a) discuss why performance on nonword repetition tasks has been investigated in children who stutter; (b) discuss why children who stutter in the current study had a higher incidence of concomitant language deficits compared to several other studies; (c) describe how performance differed on a nonword repetition test between children who stutter who do and do not have concomitant speech or language deficits; (d) make a general statement about speech motor control for nonword production in children who stutter compared to controls.
- Long-term effectiveness of the SpeechEasy fluency-enhancement device. [Journal Article]
- J Fluency Disord 2012 Dec; 37(4):334-43.
The SpeechEasy has been found to be an effective device for reduction of stuttering frequency for many people who stutter (PWS); published studies typically have compared stuttering reduction at initial fitting of the device to results achieved up to one year later. This study examines long-term effectiveness by examining whether effects of the SpeechEasy were maintained for longer periods, from 13 to 59 months. Results indicated no significant change for seven device users from post-fitting to the time of the study (t=-.074, p=.943); however, findings varied greatly on a case-by-case basis. Most notably, when stuttering frequency for eleven users and former users, prior to device fitting, was compared to current stuttering frequency while not wearing the device, the change over time was found to be statistically significant (t=2.851, p=.017), suggesting a carry-over effect of the device. There was no significant difference in stuttering frequency when users were wearing versus not wearing the device currently (t=1.949, p=0.92). Examinations of these results, as well as direction for future research, are described herein.The reader will be able to: (a) identify and briefly describe two types of altered auditory feedback which the SpeechEasy incorporates in order to help reduce stuttering; (b) describe the carry-over effect found in this study, suggest effectiveness associated with the device over a longer period of time than previously reported, as well as its implications, and (c) list factors that might be assessed in future research involving this device in order to more narrowly determine which prospective users are most likely to benefit from employing the SpeechEasy.
- Relationships between personality characteristics of people who stutter and the impact of stuttering on everyday life. [Journal Article]
- J Fluency Disord 2012 Dec; 37(4):325-33.
This study investigates the association between the five-factor model of personality measured by the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) and the Overall Assessment of the Speaker's Experience of Stuttering (OASES). The OASES measures the adverse impact of stuttering on a person's life.Participants in the present study were 112 persons who stutter from Germany.All participants filled in both the NEO-FFI and the OASES questionnaires.Results revealed a strong positive correlation between the personality trait Neuroticism and scores on the OASES. Moreover, Extraversion was negatively correlated with the OASES scores.The findings suggest that people with higher Neuroticism and lower Extraversion scores experience a greater impact of stuttering on their daily life. The results underscore the importance of considering personality as a potential moderator or mediator factor in future stuttering research and, potentially, also in treatment.The reader will learn (a) about the different personality dimensions reflected by the NEO-FFI, (b) why it is important to consider the impact of stuttering on everyday life from the perspective of the people who stutter and (c) how personality is linked to the Overall Assessment of the Speaker's Experience of Stuttering (OASES).
- Past tense marking in the spontaneous speech of preschool children who do and do not stutter. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural]
- J Fluency Disord 2012 Dec; 37(4):314-24.
The aim of this study was to identify whether different patterns of errors exist in irregular past-tense verbs in children who stutter (CWS) and children who do not stutter (CWNS).Spontaneous language samples of thirty-one age- and gender-matched pairs of children (total N=62) between the ages of 24 months and 59 months were analyzed.Results indicated that children who do and do not stutter over-regularize irregular past-tense verbs (i.e., saying runned for ran) with comparable frequency. However, two nonsignificant trends which suggest possible intra-group differences were noted. First, irregular past tense verbs represented a greater portion of total verbs for CWS than for CWNS. Second, CWS appeared to double-mark (i.e., say ranned for ran) more often than CWNS. Results are discussed in light of theories about the acquisition of the irregular past-tense and about differences in language skills between CWS and CWNS.After reading this article, the reader will be able to: (a) summarize previous findings about connections between stuttering and language in CWS and CWNS; (b) describe similarities and differences between irregular past-tense verb use and errors in CWS and CWNS; (c) discuss possible connections between the declarative-procedural model and stuttering.
- A welfare economic approach to measure outcomes in stuttering: comparing willingness to pay and quality adjusted life years. [Comparative Study, Journal Article]
- J Fluency Disord 2012 Dec; 37(4):300-13.
The purpose of this study was to compare two welfare outcome measures, willingness to pay (WTP) and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, to measure outcomes in stuttering.Seventy-eight adult participants (74 nonstuttering and 4 persons with stuttering) completed one face-to-face structured interview regarding how much they would be willing to pay to alleviate severe stuttering in three interventions of varying impact. These data were compared with QALYs gained as calculated from time trade off (TTO) and standard gamble (SG) data.Mean (median) WTP bids ranged from US $16,875 (8000), for an intervention resulting in improvement from severe stuttering to mild stuttering, to US $41,844 (10,000) for an intervention resulting in a cure of severe stuttering. These data were consistent with mean changes in QALYs for the same stuttering interventions ranging from 2.19 (using SG) to 18.42 (using TTO).This study presents the first published WTP and QALY data for stuttering. Results were consistent with previous cost-of-illness data for stuttering. Both WTP and QALY measures were able to quantify the reduction in quality of life that occurs in stuttering, and both can be used to compare the gains that might be achieved by different interventions. It is widely believed that stuttering can cause reduced quality of life for some speakers; the introduction into this field of standardized metrics for measuring quality of life is a necessary step for transparently weighing the costs and consequences of stuttering interventions in economic analyses.The reader will be able to (a) describe the underlying theoretical foundations for willingness to pay and quality adjusted life years, (b) describe the application of willingness to pay and quality adjusted life years for use in economic analyses, (c) compare and contrast the value of willingness to pay and quality adjusted life years in measuring the impact of stuttering treatment on quality of life, (d) interpret quality adjusted life years, and (e) interpret willingness to pay data.