Dissociations among linguistic, cognitive, and auditory-motor neuroanatomical domains in children who stutter

Ai Leen Choo, Evamarie Burnham, Kristin Hicks, Soo Eun Chang

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23 Scopus citations


The onset of developmental stuttering typically occurs between 2 to 4 years of age, coinciding with a period of rapid development in speech, language, motor and cognitive domains. Previous studies have reported generally poorer performance and uneven, or "dissociated" development across speech and language domains in children who stutter (CWS) relative to children who do not stutter (CWNS) (. Anderson, Pellowski, & Conture, 2005). The aim of this study was to replicate and expand previous findings by examining whether CWS exhibit dissociated development across speech-language, cognitive, and motor domains that are also reflected in measures of neuroanatomical development. Participants were 66CWS (23 females) and 53CWNS (26 females) ranging from 3 to 10 years. Standardized speech, language, cognitive, and motor skills measures, and fractional anisotropy (FA) values derived from diffusion tensor imaging from speech relevant "dorsal auditory" left perisylvian areas (. Hickok & Poeppel, 2007) were analyzed using a correlation-based statistical procedure (. Coulter, Anderson, & Conture, 2009) that quantified dissociations across domains. Overall, CWS scored consistently lower on speech, language, cognitive and motor measures, and exhibited dissociated development involving these same measures and white matter neuroanatomical indices relative to CWNS. Boys who stutter exhibited a greater number of dissociations compared to girls who stutter. Results suggest a subgroup of CWS may have incongruent development across multiple domains, and the resolution of this imbalance may be a factor in recovery from stuttering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-47
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
StatePublished - 1 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Dissociation
  • Language
  • Speech
  • Stuttering
  • White matter


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