Peer Responses to Stuttering in the Preschool Setting Purpose This study investigated peer responses to preschoolers' stuttering in preschool and sought to determine whether specific characteristics of participants' stuttering patterns elicited negative peer responses. Method Four outdoor free-play sessions of 4 preschoolers age 3–4 years who stutter were videotaped. Stutters were identified on transcripts of the ... Research Article
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Research Article  |   August 01, 2009
Peer Responses to Stuttering in the Preschool Setting
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marilyn Langevin
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney
  • Ann Packman
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney
  • Mark Onslow
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney
  • Contact author: Marilyn Langevin, who is now at the Institute for Stuttering Treatment & Research, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, 1500, 8215–112 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2C8, Canada. E-mail: marilyn.langevin@ualberta.ca.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2009
Peer Responses to Stuttering in the Preschool Setting
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2009, Vol. 18, 264-276. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/07-0087)
History: Received November 30, 2007 , Accepted December 23, 2008
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2009, Vol. 18, 264-276. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/07-0087)
History: Received November 30, 2007; Accepted December 23, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 57

Purpose This study investigated peer responses to preschoolers' stuttering in preschool and sought to determine whether specific characteristics of participants' stuttering patterns elicited negative peer responses.

Method Four outdoor free-play sessions of 4 preschoolers age 3–4 years who stutter were videotaped. Stutters were identified on transcripts of the play sessions. Peer responses to stuttered utterances were judged to be negative or neutral/positive. Thereafter, participants' stuttering behaviors, durations of stutters, and judgments of the meaningfulness of peer-directed stuttered utterances were analyzed.

Results Between 71.4% and 100% of peer responses were judged to be neutral/positive. In the negative responses across 3 participants, peers were observed to react with confusion or to interrupt, mock, walk away from, or ignore the stuttered utterances. Utterances that elicited negative responses were typically meaningless and contained stutters that were behaviorally complex and/or of longer duration. Other social interaction difficulties also were observed—for example, difficulty leading peers in play, participating in pretend play, and resolving conflicts.

Conclusions Results indicate that the majority of peer responses to stuttered utterances were neutral/positive; however, results also indicate that stuttering has the potential to elicit negative peer responses and affect other social interactions in preschool.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a Postgraduate Award to the first author from the University of Sydney and the Australian Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs International, and a Studentship Award from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. We thank the following referring clinicians and their teams from the Sydney Metropolitan area: Mary Erian, the Stuttering Unit, Bankstown Health Services; Gabi Schaefer, Royal North Shore & Ryde Community Health Services (Chatswood); and Lisa Gallard, Ryde Child, Adolescent, and Family Health Service. We thank research assistants Rebecca Goodhue and Robyn Thompson from the Australian Stuttering Research Centre and Holly Lomheim, Clinical Coordinator, Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research. Finally we express our deepest gratitude to the children who participated in this study and their parents. Parts of this article were presented at the 2007 Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Boston.
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