Children recovered from stuttering without formal treatment: Perceptual assessment of speech normalcy

Patrick Finn, Roger J. Ingham, Nicoline Ambrose, Ehud Yairi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current evidence suggests that young children who recover from stuttering are essentially stutter-free. However, there is no evidence to indicate if their speech is perceptually indistinguishable from normally fluent peers or whether they retain perceptually unusual speech. One important example of recovery from stuttering is children who have recovered without receiving formal treatment. An investigation was conducted to determine if the speech of these children is perceptually different from the speech of children who have never stuttered. Speakers consisted of 10 preschool and early school-age children documented as recovered from stuttering without benefit of formal treatment. In a series of studies they were compared with 10 children who had never stuttered. Three groups of judges-sophisticated, unsophisticated and experienced-were separately asked, using videotaped speech samples of the children, to decide which samples were from children who used to stutter. Results revealed that the children who recovered from stuttering were perceptually indistinguishable from the normal controls. The same result was obtained regardless of whether the samples were presented in paired-stimulus or single-stimulus mode. Two of the groups of judges were also instructed to rate the speech naturalness of the speech samples. The speakers were not distinguished on this measure either. Methodological issues and the implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-876
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Speech fluency
  • Speech naturalness
  • Spontaneous recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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