Behavioral treatments for children and adults who stutter: a review
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Abstract: This paper provides a brief overview of stuttering followed by a synopsis of current approaches to treat stuttering in children and adults. Treatment is discussed in terms of multifactorial, operant, speech restructuring, and anxiolytic approaches. Multifactorial and operant treatments are designed for young children who stutter. Both of these approaches involve parent training and differ primarily in their focus on reducing demands on the child (multifactorial) or in their use of response contingent stimulation (operant conditioning). Speech restructuring and anxiolytic approaches are used with adults who stutter. Speech restructuring approaches focus on the mechanics of speech production, and anxiolytic treatments tend to focus on the symptoms and social and vocational challenges of stuttering. The evidence base for these different approaches is outlined. Response contingent therapy (for children) and speech restructuring therapy (for adults) have the most robust empirical evidence base. Multifactorial treatments for children and stuttering management approaches for adults are popular but are based on theoretical models of stuttering; the evidence base is not robust and tends to be inferred from work in areas such as cognitive behavior therapy and desensitization. Comprehensive, or holistic, approaches to treating stuttering are also discussed. Comprehensive approaches for treating stuttering in adults address both improved speech fluency and stuttering management.
Keywords: stuttering, treatment, stuttering management, speech restructuring, cognitive restructuring
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