Early Intervention for Stuttering: A Time for Grassroots Advocacy As an ASHA member who stands up for children, you are rightfully alarmed when you read a headline “Preschoolers Who Stutter Do Just Fine Socially.” This controversial and myopic study from Australia has spread rapidly through media outlets. This very troubling generalization-loaded study may persuade parents, believing “don’t worry, he’ll ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   October 01, 2013
Early Intervention for Stuttering: A Time for Grassroots Advocacy
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Inbox
Inbox   |   October 01, 2013
Early Intervention for Stuttering: A Time for Grassroots Advocacy
The ASHA Leader, October 2013, Vol. 18, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.18102013.4
The ASHA Leader, October 2013, Vol. 18, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.18102013.4
As an ASHA member who stands up for children, you are rightfully alarmed when you read a headline “Preschoolers Who Stutter Do Just Fine Socially.” This controversial and myopic study from Australia has spread rapidly through media outlets. This very troubling generalization-loaded study may persuade parents, believing “don’t worry, he’ll outgrow it,” to neglect the precious time window of early intervention.
The Australian study stops at age 4, before most children have developed cognitive and affective symptoms associated with stuttering. Outdated research was cherry-picked to support this supposition. The Stuttering Foundation of American keenly referred to this study as “The Blunder from Down Under”.
I have volumes of video and parental intake forms that prove children younger than 4 can develop avoidance habits and verbalize distress related to stuttering. An SLP is required to differentially diagnose the risk for chronic stuttering.
An opportunity is before us right now. I have taken these steps in my area and hope you will in yours:
  • Seek out an interview in local media outlets, perhaps with parents whose preschoolers had social difficulties related to stuttering.

  • Use electronic newsletters to share concerns.

  • Inform the communication disorders programs at local universities so they can advise their students.

  • Write your local pediatricians.

  • Write to your state organization’s newsletter.

ASHA was built on grassroots advocacy—newborn hearing screenings are an example of our success. Please help advocate for children who stutter. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Tim Mackesey, Atlanta
The full study, published online in Pediatrics Aug. 26 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is available at bit.ly/pediatricsstutter. In addition, an ASHAsphere blog post about the study by Craig Coleman, coordinator of ASHA Special Interest Group 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders, appears at blog.asha.org.
1 Comment
May 19, 2016
Mark Power
Yes...
I agree completely, Tim
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October 2013
Volume 18, Issue 10