Epidemiology of Stuttering: 21st Century Advances. Journal of Fluency Disorders, June 2013

I subscribe to a ScienceDirect email newsletter entitled “Your ScienceDirect Top 25,” which keeps me up to date on recent articles related to fluency disorders as well as the 25 Top Articles Overall.

The text that follows below is an abstract for an article entitled Epidemiology of Stuttering: 21st Century Advances, from the June 2013 issue of The Journal of Fluency Disorders.

I don’t deal much with topics related to fluency disorders, having spent 25 years of enjoyable and productive volunteer work in this area in the past, serving as a co-founder of several national and international organizations serving people who stutter.

That said, I do enjoy keeping up to date with research in the field, and I enjoy making presentations, which are scheduled from time to time, to classes of elementary students about my experiences with stuttering dating from an earlier stage of my life.

My encounters with a wide range of approaches to speech therapy for stuttering, starting in childhood and extending through my adult years, has given rise to a strong interest, on my part, in the focused pursuit of scientific data, and in evidence-based practice as it applies to any human endeavour.

The abstract – which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs – from the June 2013 Journal of Fluency Disorders article follows:

Abstract from June 2013 Journal of Fluency Disorders

Epidemiological advances in stuttering during the current century are reviewed within the perspectives of past knowledge. The review is organized in six sections:

(a) onset, (b) incidence, (c) prevalence, (d) developmental paths, (e) genetics and (f) subtypes.

It is concluded that:

(1) most of the risk for stuttering onset is over by age 5, earlier than has been previously thought, with a male-to-female ratio near onset smaller than what has been thought,

(2) there are indications that the lifespan incidence in the general population may be higher than the 5% commonly cited in past work,

(3) the average prevalence over the lifespan may be lower than the commonly held 1%,

(4) the effects of race, ethnicity, culture, bilingualism, and socioeconomic status on the incidence/prevalence of stuttering remain uncertain,

(5) longitudinal, as well as incidence and prevalence studies support high levels of natural recovery from stuttering,

(6) advances in biological genetic research have brought within reach the identification of candidate genes that contribute to stuttering in the population at large,

(7) subtype-differentiation has attracted growing interest, with most of the accumulated evidence supporting a distinction between persistent and recovered subtypes.

Educational objectives

Readers will be exposed to a summary presentation of the most recent data concerning basic epidemiological factors in stuttering. Most of these factors also pertain to children’s risks for experiencing stuttering onset, as well as risks for persistency. The article also aims to increase awareness of the implications of the information to research, and professional preparation that meets the epidemiology of the disorder.

[End of excerpt from the June 2013 issue of The Journal of Fluency Disorders]


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