Both clinical and theoretical interest in stuttering as a disorder of speech motor control has led to numerous investigations of speaking rate in people who stutter. The majority of these studies, however, has been conducted with adult and schoolage groups. Most studies of preschoolers have included older children. Despite the ongoing theoretical and clinical focus on speaking rate in young children who stutter and their parents, no longitudinal or cross-sectional studies have been conducted to answer questions about the possible developmental link between stuttering and the rate of speech, or about differences in rate development between preschool children who stutter and normally fluent children. This investigation compared changes in articulatory rate over a period of 2 years in subgroups of preschool-age children who stutter and normally fluent children. Within the group of stuttering children, comparisons also were made between those who exhibited persistent stuttering and those who eventually recovered without intervention. Furthermore, the study compared two metrics of articulatory rate. Spontaneous speech samples, collected longitudinally over a 2-year period, were analyzed acoustically to determine speaking rate measured in number of syllables and phones per second. Results indicated no differences among the 3 groups when articulation rate was measured in syllables per second. Using the phones per second measure, however, significant group differences were found when comparing the control group to the recovered and persistent groups.
- Childhood stuttering
- Speaking rate