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Predicting Stuttering

February 23, 2011

Researchers are trying to predict which children will become persistent stutterers in order to provide them with needed speech therapy.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Stuttering comes center-stage…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

KING GEORGE VI (From The King’s Speech motion picture):

“The nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can’t speak.”

HIRSHON:

In the recent film, The King’s Speech, King George VI struggles to address his people because of a persistent stutter he developed as a small child. According to speech neurophysiologist Anne Smith of Purdue University, only about half of all children who develop a stutter continue to stutter later in life. Her team is trying to determine which factors are predictive of persistent stuttering.

ANNE SMITH (Purdue University):

We’re seeing that the stuttering children are lagging the non-stuttering children in terms of their oralmotor coordination for speech. We’re hoping we can come up with some relatively simple tests.

HIRSHON:

She says the research will be used to help identify which children should be targeted for speech therapy. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.