The Fork in the Road: Stuttering Persistence
To understand the underpinnings of complex disorders like stuttering, researchers have adopted longitudinal, multifactorial research approaches to reveal how the onset and course of stuttering co-occurs with dynamic changes in other behavioral and neural systems during early childhood. Discoveries from this research also allow us to identify children at greater risk for stuttering persistence to better prioritize therapy resources, inform the selection of treatment targets, and accelerate development of new interventions. In this talk, I will present highlights from 15 years of large-scale research projects examining risk factors related to persistence and recovery in early childhood stuttering initiated at Purdue University and continuing at Michigan State University. Through our multilevel approach, we have discovered neurophysiological, behavioral, and clinical factors that differentiate children who persist or recover from stuttering. Our findings reveal distinctly different patterns of brain activity during speech and language tasks in children who persist in stuttering and contribute to multivariable risk models used to predict the probability of stuttering persistence in preschoolers.
• Target Audience: Speech-Language Pathologists*, Researchers, Graduate Students
Bio: Bridget Walsh, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is a certified speech-language pathologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University. Dr. Walsh directs the Developmental Speech Lab that researches the mechanisms underlying the development of stuttering including its adverse impact in young children. She uses a multilevel approach combining physiological, behavioral, and clinical measures to investigate the development of adverse impact from stuttering in children and to explore why many young children recover from early stuttering while others persist and develop a lifelong condition.