Authors: Laiho A, Klippi A
Title: Long- and short-term results of children’s and adolescents’ therapy courses for stuttering
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2007 42(3): 367-382
Year: 2007
Research Design: Case Series

BACKGROUND: It is widely known that most young children recover from stuttering. Evaluations of this spontaneous recovery vary from 40 to 80% of stuttering children. However, if the child is already older than 6 years of age, the spontaneous recovery will be less likely. The effectiveness of stuttering treatment, and especially fluency shaping methods, has been frequently studied. Good results in the treatment of stuttering for school-aged children have been accomplished by several treatment methods. However, stuttering modification treatments have not been studied so intensively. AIMS: This study addresses the effects of intensive therapy courses on the stuttering behaviour of children and adolescents. The courses included speech therapy, where stuttering modification treatment was used, and also parental guidance. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Taking part in the study were 21 children/adolescents who stutter, and 29 of their mothers/fathers took part in the study. The children were between the ages of 6.8 and 14.0 years. The effectiveness of therapy was evaluated in three ways. First, the speech of the children who stutter was videotaped at both the beginning and the end of the course and the samples were transcribed and analysed. Second, the parents and adolescents completed a feedback questionnaire at the end of the course. And third, the parents and adolescents completed a follow-up questionnaire 9 months after the course. The aim was to evaluate the changes in stuttering behaviour after the therapy course. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: The results indicate that stuttering severity became milder or did not change during the course. The percentage of syllables stuttered dropped with two-thirds of the participants. This result was replicated with avoidance behaviour and struggle behaviour. The quality of stuttering became milder, and by the end many children had shorter moments of stuttering and more repetitions and prolongation instead of blocks. Two participants did not complete the questionnaire. Of those who did, all but one adolescent, and all except one parent, reported that the positive changes in stuttering behaviour had continued during the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: The implication is that intensive therapy courses can be helpful to some participants who stutter.

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