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Stuttering Does Not Hurt Children Socially, Emotionally

Update Date: Aug 26, 2013 10:18 AM EDT

Children who have a stutter growing up may have difficulty with public speaking or reading. Even though stuttering, which involves word repetition and/or prolongation of sounds, might make certain aspects of learning related to academics and social interactions more difficult, a new study is reporting that stuttering does not harm children's well being. In this new study, researchers found very little evidence that stuttering leads to social and emotional complications.

The researchers examined the effects of stuttering in a larger community. In smaller groups, stuttering might appear to have a negative impact on children since some children do become shy or withdrawn due to the stutter. For this study, the researchers analyzed 1,619 children residing in Melbourne, Australia starting at the tender age of eight months. When the children reached four-years-old, the researchers noted that 11 percent of them had developed a stuttering problem. The researchers then administered questionnaires to their parents in order to measure social and emotional development.

The researchers discovered that children with stutters appear to do as well as children without the speech impairment. On top of that, the researchers found that children who stuttered had average vocabulary and language scores that were higher than children who did not stutter. The recovery rate for children within 12 months of diagnosis was 6.3 percent, which the researchers considered to be very low. Even though stuttering is quite common for children between the ages of two and five, in the majority of the time, it will clear up according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Only around one percent of children will continue to stutter into adulthood.

The researchers plan on studying this group of children to monitor their progress in recovering from their stutters. The study was published in Pediatrics.

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