Guttormsen, Yaruss & Næss (2021): Parents' Perceptions of the Overall Impact of Stuttering on Young Children
I: American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Online first.
Research has revealed the presence of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive reactions in young children who stutter; however, prior studies have not examined the overall impact of stuttering on young children's lives. Such information is necessary for improving understanding of how stuttering affects young children and for ensuring appropriate early intervention.
This study employed an adaptation of the Overall Assessment of the Speaker's Experience of Stuttering for School-Age Children that was designed to ask parents about their perceptions of the impact of stuttering on their young children. Thirty-eight parents of young children who stutter (2–5 years of age) provided their perceptions of the impact of stuttering on their children. Parents rated how certain they were in their judgments using a 5-point scale to provide an indication of their confidence in proxy ratings of impact.
Results indicated that, on average, parents perceived that stuttering affected their children negatively. Qualitatively, parents provided descriptions of the impact of stuttering on their children's quality of life, communication difficulties across people and situations, and reactions to stuttering; they also commented on their own feelings and strategies for handling impact. On average, parents perceived themselves to be certain in rating the impact of stuttering on their children.
Results indicated that parents identified adverse impact in their children's lives. Even though parents considered themselves to be certain in their impact ratings, clinicians and researchers should also assess the perspective of the children if appropriate. This is because present findings reveal that parents may not have insight into all aspects of impact, in particular, cognitive reactions to stuttering. Still, parents' perceptions of impact are important for clinicians to consider when giving recommendations for therapy, as they can provide important insight into the family's needs.