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The effect of manual movements on stuttering in individuals with Down syndrome
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
PURPOSE: Stuttering may disrupt the speech of individuals with Down syndrome (DS), but standard stuttering therapies may be less adapted to these clients' needs. This study examined if their strength in gesture use can lead to the development of a new stuttering therapy. METHOD: Eighteen individuals with DS who stutter participated in an experimental task. During this task, they produced sentences in three different conditions: once without the ability to use gestures, once while moving the mouth of a hand puppet synchronous with their speech, and once while making beat gestures along their speech. Stuttering frequency was measured and compared between conditions while controlling for the effect of articulation rate. RESULTS: The experimental hand puppet and beat condition did not affect the stuttering frequency, but the covariate articulation rate did. An exploratory posthoc analysis showed that the articulation rate decreased during the experimental hand puppet and beat condition. Manual movements in the present task might only induce fluency through articulation rate reduction. However, analyses at individual level show significant interindividual variability. CONCLUSION: Individual analyses show that effect on stuttering frequency cannot be attributed entirely to articulation rate reduction and that beat gestures might still play a role. However, at this point, there is not enough direct evidence to implement beat gestures in current stuttering therapy.
Journal: Journal of Fluency Disorders