Stuttering and Language Ability in Children: Questioning the Connection Purpose This article explains why it is reasonable to question the view that stuttering and language ability in children are linked—the so-called “stuttering–language connection.” Method Studies that focused on syntactic, morphologic, and lexical development in children who stutter (CWS) are examined for evidence to support the following claims: ... Viewpoint
Viewpoint  |   August 01, 2012
Stuttering and Language Ability in Children: Questioning the Connection
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marilyn A. Nippold
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Correspondence to Marilyn Nippold: nippold@uoregon.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Patrick Finn
    Associate Editor: Patrick Finn×
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Viewpoint
Viewpoint   |   August 01, 2012
Stuttering and Language Ability in Children: Questioning the Connection
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2012, Vol. 21, 183-196. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0078)
History: Received July 27, 2011 , Revised December 13, 2011 , Accepted March 9, 2012
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2012, Vol. 21, 183-196. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0078)
History: Received July 27, 2011; Revised December 13, 2011; Accepted March 9, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 20

Purpose This article explains why it is reasonable to question the view that stuttering and language ability in children are linked—the so-called “stuttering–language connection.”

Method Studies that focused on syntactic, morphologic, and lexical development in children who stutter (CWS) are examined for evidence to support the following claims: (a) that CWS, as a group, are more likely to have disordered or weak language skills (“language deficits”) than children who do not stutter (CWNS); (b) that language deficits play a causal role in the onset of stuttering; and (c) that stuttering, over time, restricts children’s language development.

Results Analysis of the evidence suggests that CWS, like CWNS, show the full range of language abilities (high, average, low); that language deficits are not associated with stuttering onset or persistence; and that stuttering has little or no impact on language development.

Conclusions A connection between stuttering and language ability was not supported. An alternative perspective is that CWS have a compromised motor control system that makes it difficult for them to move forward in speech and that the tie to language lies not in a deficient linguistic system but in difficulty expressing the intended meaning via a fully functional speech system.

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