Authors: Craig A, Hancock K, Chang E, McCready C, Shepley A, McCaul A, Costello D, Harding S, Kehren R, Masel C, Reilly K
Title: A controlled clinical trial for stuttering in persons aged 9 to 14 years
Source: Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 1996 39(4): 808-826
Year: 1996
Research Design: Non Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 05/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - N
Random allocation - N
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - Y
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

This paper presents the results of a controlled trial of child stuttering treatment. The aim of the study was, first, to compare the effectiveness of three viable treatments, and, second, to compare these three treatments to a no-treatment control composed of children who stuttered of a similar age and sex ratio who were on treatment waiting lists. The three treatments investigated included intensive smooth speech, intensive electromyography feedback, and home-based smooth speech. The children/adolescents were assessed across three speaking contexts on measures of percentage syllables stuttered (% SS) and syllables spoken per minute (SPM) and outcomes were assessed 12 months later. Repeated measures analyses of variance demonstrated significant differences between the control group and all three treatment groups across time on conversations in the clinic, on the telephone, and at home (although home measures were not taken for the intensive smooth speech group). Although the controls' stuttering did not change across time, the treatment groups' stuttering was decreased to very low levels posttreatment (less than 1% syllables stuttered on average), with mean improvement in stuttering frequency of at least 85% to 90% across all assessment contexts. Stuttering did not increase significantly up to 3 months and one year posttreatment in the experimental groups, although levels did rise across time (less than 3% syllables stuttered on average). Speech naturalness results showed increasing naturalness across time as rated by the clinician and parent. This was not the case for the controls. The children were also less anxious across time following treatment. The results suggest that all three treatments for children aged 9-14 who stutter were very successful in the long term for over 70% of the group, though the EMG feedback and home-based treatments were superior when percentages falling below a cutoff point (2%SS) were used to discriminate between groups. Implications for child/adolescent treatment in the community are discussed. Long-term outcomes will be assessed up to 5 years after the treatment.

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