Early Intervention Program Treats Stuttering

Parent administered treatment cuts stuttering rate in half

FRIDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Early intervention for stuttering significantly improves the recovery chances for preschool children, according to a report in the Sept. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal. The natural rate of recovery without intervention is 74%.

Mark Jones of the University of Queensland, Australia, and colleagues initiated a randomized controlled trial of 54 stuttering children, aged three to six years. The intervention group received treatment as outlined in the Lidcombe program.

The two-stage treatment program involves the parent verbally acknowledging either stutter-free speech or unambiguous stuttering by the child. In the first stage, the parent administers the treatment every day and the parent and child visit a speech pathologist once a week. As the child improves to less than 1% stuttered syllables over three weeks, stage two commences with less frequent verbal interventions and pathologist visits.

After nine months of treatment, the experimental group stuttered an average of 1.5% of syllables while the control group did so for 3.9%. The difference was statistically significant and more than double the change of 1% determined for the treatment to be clinically worthwhile.

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