The identification of stuttering in bilingual children
Mullis, Anna Katherine
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The purpose of the present study was to examine, based on audio samples in both languages, the accuracy of diagnosis of the presence or absence of stuttering in a bilingual Spanish English (SE) child who may or may not stutter by bilingual SE speech- language pathologists (SLPs) living in Texas (n=14). This study also aimed to determine what speech characteristics (if any) influenced SLPs’ judgment of whether or not a bilingual SE child was a stutterer, as well as to explore whether personal characteristics of the bilingual SLPs who completed the ratings (i.e., years experience, confidence in diagnosing an SE child with stuttering, educational history on the topics of stuttering and/or bilingualism) uniquely impacted the accuracy of their diagnosis. Information gained from this study suggests that the atypically frequent (in comparison to monolingual children) word and phrases repetitions produced by bilingual SE children who do not stutter may put this population at risk for misdiagnosis of stuttering. Results also indicate that the accuracy of identification of a bilingual SE child who does not stutter is not influenced by any of the personal characteristics listed above. Rather, there seems to be an overall lack of knowledge regarding the speech disfluencies that differentiate bilingual SE children who do and do not stutter. Thus, the preliminary data from this investigation warrants a follow-up study of the same nature on a nationwide scale.