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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2000 Dec;43(6):1440-50.

Treating stuttering in young children: predicting treatment time in the Lidcombe Program.

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National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney.


It is known that children may recover from stuttering without formal treatment during the first years after onset. Consequently, the timing of professional, early stuttering intervention is a pressing issue in speech-language pathology. This report presents data pertinent to this issue for 261 preschool-age children who received the Lidcombe Program of early stuttering intervention. Of these children, 250 completed the program and were considered by their clinicians to have been treated successfully. For the children who were treated successfully, logistical regression analyses were used to determine whether age, gender, period from onset to treatment, and stuttering severity related systematically to the time required for treatment. The present data confirmed previous reports that a median of 11 clinic visits was required to achieve zero or near-zero stuttering with the Lidcombe Program. Results were also consistent with a preliminary report of 14 children (C. W. Starkweather & S. R. Gottwald, 1993) showing a significant relation between stuttering severity and the time needed for treatment, with children with more severe stuttering requiring longer treatment times than children with less severe stuttering. However, results did not associate either increasing age or increased onset-to-treatment intervals with longer treatment times. This finding is not consistent with the Starkweather and Gottwald report, which linked advancing age with longer treatment time. In fact, the present data suggest that, for a short period after stuttering onset in the preschool years, a short delay in treatment does not appear to increase treatment time. An important caveat to these data is that they cannot be generalized to late childhood or early adolescence. The present findings are discussed in relation to natural recovery from stuttering.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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