Early childhood stuttering II: Initial status of phonological abilities

Elaine Pagel Paden, Ehud Yairi, Nicotine Grinager Ambrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on the relation between stuttering and phonological/articulation deficits has been reported in the literature over several decades. Yet virtually none of these investigations has taken into account that 'children who stutter' includes a large number who spontaneously recover within a few months or years after onset. Thus, little attention has been given to differences between the phonological abilities of children whose stuttering persists and those who recover. This investigation compares these two groups soon after stuttering onset, before it was possible to classify them as members of either group, on a number of phonological characteristics, including mean percentage of error, relative levels of severity of phonological impairment, error on specific phonological patterns, progress in development of key patterns, and the children's strategies for coping with unmastered patterns. The results indicate that the children whose stuttering would be persistent had poorer mean scores on each of our measures than did the children who would recover from stuttering. Both groups, however, showed progression in phonological development that followed the expected order, and they used typical strategies when patterns had not yet been acquired. The persistent group was moving more slowly, however, so phonological development was more delayed than in the children who would recover from stuttering. Our findings support the assumption that most previous studies probably have compared children with persistent stuttering to normally fluent children, and that those who recovered early were not considered differentially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1113-1124
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Childhood
  • Development
  • Phonology
  • Stuttering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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