CHARACTERISTICS OF STUTTERING-LIKE DISFLUENCIES IN CHILDHOOD STUTTERING
Keywords:childhood stuttering, stuttering-like disfluencies, repetitions, dysfluency index
There are many publications discussing stuttering-like disfluencies in early stuttering. Although, there are few based on longitudinal studies, most of them are based on small groups‘ research. Some of the main aspects in them are related to discrimination between early stuttering and normal dysfluency. Repetitions (part - word repetitions and monosyllabic word repetitions), sound prolongations and blocks, are specified as the most typical for stuttering symptoms defined also as ?less typical disfluencies?. To determine the stuttering severity rate it is necessary to measure frequency of disfluencies and length of disfluencies. The main purpose of the present study was to find specific features of stuttering-like disfluencies in stuttered Bulgarian children. Twenty six children (aged 36 to 84 months) were included in the examination. Methodology was composed of several steps: (a) audiotape of children‘s speech; (b) transcription of disfluent speech; (c) calculation of dysfluency index of stuttering-like disfluencies, (d) stuttering severity rating. The data obtained from listed methods was collected in tables and graphically shown by using Microsoft Office Excel 2003 program. Three hypotheses were proposed with the intent to find correlation between stuttering-like disfluencies in early stuttering: (a) there is no significant difference between prolongations and repetitions; (b) there is no significant difference between repetitions and blocks; and (c) there is no significant difference between prolongations and blocks. To find the differences in the data between the grouped symptoms was used Kruskal-Wallis method which is a nonparametric method for statistical analysis, based on ?2 test. Results indicated: (a) significant difference between repetitions and prolongations (? <= 0.001), (b) significant difference between repetitions and blocks (? <= 0.001), and (c) no significant difference between prolongations and blocks (? > 0.05). Based on received data, we can conclude that repetitions are the most frequent symptoms for early stuttering. They outnumber significantly other types of stuttering-like disfluencies: prolongations and blocks. It was found that as severe is stuttering, prolongations and blocks tend to appear more frequently, although repetitions are still the most frequent. Blocks can be noticed mainly in severe stuttered children which means that with increasing the number of block, stuttering severity rate increases also. The most common method for distinction between stuttered and non-stuttered children is Dysfluency index of stuttering-like disfluencies. Repetitions and prolongations are typical for normally disfluent children too, during the intensive language development in preschool age. For that reason clinicians have to be cautious when they count stuttering-like disfluencies to determine a diagnosis ?stuttering?