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 school-age 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.

References

  • Alfonso, P., Watson, B. & Baer, T. (1987). Measuring stutterers’ dynamical vocal tract characteristics by x-ray microbeam pellet tracking.In H Peters & W Hulstijn (Eds.), Speech motor dynamics in stuttering (pp. 141–150). Wien: Springer-Verlag.
  • Ambrose, N., Cox, N. & Yairi, E. (1997). The genetic basis of persistence and recovery in stuttering.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 40, 567–580.
  • Amir, O. & Yairi, E. (1997). Articulation rate in adults: Stutterers and non-stutterers.Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, Boston.
  • Amster, B. J. & Starkweather, C. W. (1987). Articulatory rate, stuttering, and speech motor control.In H. F. M & W Hulstijn (Eds.), Speech motor dynamics and stuttering (pp. 317–328). New York: Springer-Verlag.
  • Bloodstein, O. N. (1944). Studies in the psychology of stuttering: XIX. The relationship between oral reading and severity of stuttering.Journal of Speech Disorders, 9, 161–173.
  • Browman, C. & Goldstein, L. (1989). Articulatory gestures as phonological units.Phonology, 6 , 201–251.
  • Browman, C. & Goldstein, L. (1992). Articulatory phonology: An overview.Phonetica, 49, 155–180.
  • Conture, E. G. & Fraser, J. (1989. Stuttering and your child: Questions and answers. Memphis, TN: Stuttering Foundation of America.
  • Conture, E. G., Louko, L. J. & Edwards, M. L. (1993). Simultaneously treating stuttering and disordered phonology in children: Experimental therapy, preliminary findings. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.A Journal of Clinical Practice, 2, 72–81.
  • Coppola, V. & Yairi, E. (1982). Rhythmic speech training with preschool stuttering: An experimental study.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 7, 447–457.
  • Costello, J. M. & Ingham, R. (1984). Assessment strategies for stuttering.In R. F Curlee &W. H Perkins (Eds.), Nature and treatment of stuttering: New Directions (pp. 303–333). San Diego: College Hill Press.
  • Culp, D. (1984). The preschool fluency development program: Assessment and treatment.In M Peins (Ed.), Contemporary approaches in stuttering therapy (pp. 3971). Boston: Little Brown.
  • Di Simoni, F. (1974a). Influence of vowel environment on the duration of consonants in the speech of three-, six-, and nine-year-old children.Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 55, 360–361.
  • Di Simoni F. (1974b). Influence of consonant environment on the duration of vowels in the speech of three-, six, and nine-year-old children.Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 55, 362–363.
  • Di Simoni, F. (1974c). Influence of utterance length upon bilabial closure for /p/ in three-, six-, and nine-year-old children.Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 55, 1353–1354.
  • Dunn, O. (1961). Multiple comparisons among means.Journal of the American Statistical Association, 56, 52–64.
  • Gilbert, J. & Purves, B. (1977). Temporal constraints on consonant clusters in child speech production.Journal of Child Language, 4, 417–432.
  • Gollinkoff, R. & Ames, C. (1979). A comparison of fathers’ and mothers’ speech with their very young children.Child Development, 50, 28–32.
  • Hall, K. & Yairi, E. (1997). Articulation Rate: Theoretical considerations and empirical data.In H Peters & P van Lieshoust(Eds.), Speech motor control and stuttering (pp. 547–556). Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica.
  • Ingham, R., Martin, R., Haroldson, S., Onslow, M. & Leney, M. (1985). Modification of listeners judged naturalness in the speech of stutters.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 28, 495–504.
  • Karniol, R. (1995). Stuttering, language, and cognition: A review and a model of stuttering as suprasegmental sentence plan alignment (SPA).Psychological Bulletin, 117, 104–124.
  • Kelly, E. M. (1993). Speech rates and turn-taking behaviors of children who stutter and their parents.Seminars in Speech and Language, 14, 203–214.
  • Kelly, E. M. (1994). Speech rates and turn-taking behaviors of children who stutter and their fathers.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37, 1284–1294.
  • Kelly, E. M. & Conture, E. G. (1992). Speaking rates, response time latencies, and interrupting behaviors of young stutterers, nonstutterers, and their mothers.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 35, 1256–1267.
  • Kent, R. D. (1984). Stuttering as a temporal programming disorder.In R Curlee&W Perkins (Eds.), Nature and treatment of stuttering: New directions (pp. 283–301). San Diego, CA: College Hill Press.
  • Kent, R. D. & Forner, L. L. (1980). Speech segment duration in sentence recitations by children and adults.Journal of Phonetics, 8, 157–168.
  • Kloth, S. A. M.,Janssen, P., Kraaiamaat, F. W. & Brutten, G. J. (1995). Speech-motor and linguistic skills of young stutterers prior to onset.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 20, 157–170.
  • Kolk, H. & Postma, A. (1997). Stuttering as a covert repair phenomenon.In R Curlee & G Siegel (Eds.), Nature and treatment of stuttering: New directions (2nd ed., pp. 182203). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Kowal, S., O’Connel, D. C. & Sabin, E. F. (1975). Development of temporal patterning and vocal hesitations in spontaneous narratives.Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 4, 195–207.
  • Kubaska, C. & Keating, P. (1981). Word duration in early child speech.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 24, 615–621.
  • Logan, K. J. & Conture, E. G. (1995). Length, grammatical complexity, and rate differences in stuttered and fluent conversational utterances of children who stutter.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 20, 35–61.
  • Malecot, A., Johnston, R. & Kizziar, P. (1972). Syllabic rate and utterances length in French. Phonetica. 26, 235–251.
  • Martin, R. R., Johnson, L. J., Siegel, G. M. & Haroldson, S. K. (1985). Auditory stimulation, rhythm, and stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 28, 487–495.
  • Meyers, S. & Woodford, L. (1992). The fluency development system for young children. Buffalo, NY: United Educational Services.
  • Meyers, S. C. & Freeman, F. J. (1985). Mother and child speech rate as a variable in stuttering and disfluency.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 28, 436–444.
  • Milenkovic, P. (1987). Least mean square measures of voice perturbation.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 30, 529–538.
  • Miller, J., Grosjean, F. & Lomanto, C. (1984). Articulation rate and its variability in spontaneous speech: An analysis and some implications.Phonetica, 41, 215–225.
  • Naeser, M. (1970). The American child’s acquisition of differential vowel duration .Rep. 144). Madison, WI: Wisconsin Research and Development Center for Cognitive Learning.
  • Nicolosi, L., Harryman, E. & Kresheck, J. (1996). Terminology of communication disorders (4th ed.). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
  • Nittrouer, S. (1993). The emergence of mature gestural patterns is not uniform: Evidence from an acoustic study.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 36, 959–972.
  • Nudleman, H. B., Herbrich, K. E., Hoyt, B. D. & Rosenfield, D. B. (1989). A neuroscience model of stuttering.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 14, 399–427.
  • Onslow, M., van Doorn, J. & Newman, D. (1992). Variability of acoustic segment duration after prolonged-speech treatment for stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 529–536.
  • Perkins, W. H., Bell, J., Johnson, L. & Stocks, J. (1979). Phone rate and the effective planning time hypothesis of stuttering.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 22, 477–755.
  • Perkins, W. H., Kent, R. D. & Curlee, R. F. (1991). A theory of neurolinguistic function in stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 34, 734–752.
  • Peters H. F. M.,Hulstijn W. & Starkweather C. W.(1989). Acoustic and physiological reaction times of stutterers and nonstutterers.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 32, 668–680.
  • Peters, T. J. & Guitar, B. G. (1991). Stuttering: An integrated approach to its nature and treatment. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
  • Pindzola, R. H., Jenkins, M. M. & Lokken, K. J. (1989). Speaking rates of young children.Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 20, 133–138.
  • Postma, A. & Kolk, H. (1993). The covert repair hypothesis: Prearticulatory repair processes in normal and stuttered disfluencies.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 472–487.
  • Postma, A., Kolk, H. & Povel, D. (1990). Speech planning and execution in stutterers.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 15, 49–59.
  • Prins, D. & Hubbard, C. P. (1990). Acoustical duration of speech segments during stuttering adaptation.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 33, 494–504.
  • Prosek, R. A. & Runyan, C. M. (1982). Temporal characteristics related to the discrimination of stutterers’ and nonstutterers’ speech samples.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 25, 29–33.
  • Richardson, D. (1985). Speaking, stuttering, and disfluency rates of preschool stutterers and their mothers.Unpublished master’s thesis, California State University, Long Beach.
  • Robb, M. & Saxman, J. (1990). Syllable durations of preword and early word vocalizations.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 33, 583–593.
  • Ryan, B. P. (1992). Articulation, language, rate, and fluency characteristics of stuttering and nonstuttering preschool children.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 333–342.
  • Schwartz, H. D. & Conture, E. G. (1988). Subgrouping young stutterers: Preliminary behavioral observations.Journal ofSpeech and Hearing Research, 31, 62–71.
  • Shewan, C. M. & Henderson, V. L. (1988). Analysis of spontaneous language in the older normal population.Journal ofCommunication Disorders, 21, 139–154.
  • Shine, R. (1984). Assessment and fluency training with the young stutterer.In M Peins (Ed.), Contemporary approaches in stuttering therapy. Boston: Little Brown.
  • Smith, B. L. (1978). Temporal aspects of English speech production: A developmental perspective.Journal of Phonology, 6, 37–67.
  • Smith, B. L. (1992). Relationships between duration and temporal variability in children’s speech.Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 91, 2165–2174.
  • Starkweather, W., Gottwald, S. & Halfond, M. (1990).Stuttering prevention: A clinical method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Stephenson-Opsal, D. & Bernstein Ratner, N. (1988). Maternal speech rate modification and childhood stuttering.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 13, 49–56.
  • Tingley, B. M. & Allen, G. D. (1975). Development of speech timing control in children.Child Development, 46, 186–194.
  • Van Lieshout, P. H. H. M. (1995). Motor planning and articulation in fluent speech of stutterers and nonstutterers.Nijmegen, The Netherlands: University Press Nijmegen.
  • Van Riper, C. (1982). The nature of stuttering (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Walker, J. F., Archibald, L. M. D.,Cherniak, S. R. & Fish, V. G. (1992). Articulation rate in 3− and 5-year-old children.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 4–13.
  • Walker, V. G. (1988). Durational characteristics of young adults during speaking and reading tasks.Folia Phoni-atrica, 40, 12–17.
  • Yairi, E. & Ambrose, N. (1992). Onset of stuttering in preschool age children: Selected factors.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 782–788.
  • Yairi, E., Ambrose, N. & Niermann, R. (1993). The early months of stuttering: A developmental study.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 521–528.
  • Yairi E., Ambrose N., Paden E. & Throneburg R.(1996). Predictive factors of persistence and recovery:Pathways of childhood stuttering.Journal of Communication Disorders, 29, 51–77.
  • Yaruss, S. (1997). Utterance timing and childhood stuttering.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 22, 263–286.
  • Yaruss, S. & Conture, E. (1995). Mother and child speaking rates and utterance lengths in adjacent fluent utterances: Preliminary observations.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 20, 257–278.
  • Yaruss, S. & Conture, E. (1996). Stuttering and phonological disorders in children: examination of the covert repair hypothesis.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 39, 349–364.
  • Yaruss, S., Logan, K. & Conture, E. (1995). Speaking rate and diadochokinetic abilities of children who stutter.In C. W. Starkweather& H. F. M Peters (Eds.), Stuttering: Proceedings of the first world congress on fluency disorders.Nijmegen, The Netherlands: University Press Nijmegen.
  • Zebrowski, P. M. (1994). Duration of sound prolongations and sound/syllable repetition in children who stutter: Preliminary observations.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37, 254–263.

Additional Resources