Study on preschoolers’ stuttering may be misleading
Headlines topping reports about a new Australian study on preschoolers’ stuttering are creating concerns for the Stuttering Foundation.
“Headlines heralding ‘Preschoolers’ Stuttering Not Harmful’ send a mixed message to parents – one that could be troublesome for children who stutter, according to Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation.
“Our biggest concern is that parents will just see this headline, and read no further,” Fraser said. “For decades, we have advocated that parents should gather credible information about stuttering and seek early intervention. But these headlines seem to indicate there is little cause for concern or no immediate need to seek help. In many cases, this approach is just not acceptable.
“The biggest problem with the data is that it stops at age 4, just when one might expect to see some harmful effects from stuttering,” Fraser continued. “In addition, the study includes only 142 children. It is far too early to interpret the findings, because we do not know how many of these children continued to stutter and what effects it had on them and their lives.”
For more than six decades, the Stuttering Foundation has provided guidance, support and materials to parents of children who stutter. Current, timely and accurate information for parents about children and stuttering is now available in a new 16-minute video titled, “7 Tips for Talking with the Child Who Stutters,” available from the foundation. In the video, a group of speech-language experts talk compassionately and directly to adults about how to promote easier talking as they interact with their preschool-age children. The professionals offer simple, easy-to-do tips that parents can begin to use immediately.
For more information, visit www.StutteringHelp.org.