Parents as Partners in Young Children's Stuttering Treatment

Re: Parents as Partners in Young Children's Stuttering Treatment

From: Anne Bothe
Date: 10/19/00
Time: 11:47:19 AM
Remote Name:


Thanks for the questions! To answer what I think you are asking in the first part of your question, I am not sure why many SLPs choose not to work with very young children who stutter. Part of it may still stem from some older theories in our profession that labeling stuttering or drawing attention to it was actually what caused it in the first place or would make it worse (this is Johnson's diagnosogenic theory, classic stuff), but that was disproved for children with the equally classic puppet study that I've mentioned in response to some other questions (Martin, Kuhl, & Haroldson, 1972, in the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research)and in many papers since then, including a solid decade now of heavy publications from Onslow's Lidcombe program project, so I really don't know. The fact that some young children do go through a time of disfluency, or even of diagnosed stuttering, and then recover without treatment most likely has a lot to do with the decision not to provide early or immediate treatment -- in a sense, if someone is going to recover without treatment, then providing treatment takes up their time and their money unnecessarily. The problems I see with that argument for young children are that I don't believe we know which particular children will recover, and I do believe that we know that treatment works better earlier, so my read on our literature is to say that early treatment that will help some children who would have recovered anyway to recover sooner, and will help children who would not have recovered without treatment to recover -- well, that's just my choice, based on how I read the literature, is to err in that direction.

So to answer the second part of your question -- yes, definitely, a child who has been monitored for a while and who is continuing to stutter needs treatment.

Last changed: September 12, 2005