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Dual-task effects on speech production in children (Eichorn & Pirutinsky, 2022)

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posted on 03.06.2022, 21:38 authored by Naomi Eichorn, Steven Pirutinsky

Purpose: Contemporary motor theories indicate that well-practiced movements are best performed automatically, without conscious attention or monitoring. We applied this perspective to speech production in school-age children and examined how dual-task conditions that engaged sustained attention affected speech fluency, speech rate, and language productivity in children with and without stuttering disorders.

Method: Participants included 47 children (19 children who stutter, 28 children who do not stutter) from 7 to 12 years of age. Children produced speech in two baseline conditions with no concurrent task and under a dual-task condition requiring sustained attention to on-screen stimuli. Measures of speech fluency, speech rate, and language productivity were obtained for each trial and compared across conditions and groups.

Results: Dual-task conditions resulted in a reduction in stutter-like disfluencies relative to the initial baseline speaking condition. Effects were similar for both groups of children and could not be attributed to decreases in language productivity or a simple order effect.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that diverting attention during the process of speech production enhances speech fluency in children, possibly by increasing the automaticity of motor speech sequences. Further research is needed to clarify neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these changes and to evaluate potential clinical applications of such effects.


Supplemental Material S1. Model fit of sequential generalized multilevel regression models of stuttering-like disfluencies.


Supplemental Material S2. Model fit of sequential generalized multilevel regression models of non-stuttering-like disfluencies.


Supplemental Material S3. Model fit of sequential generalized multilevel regression models of stuttering-like disfluencies excluding bilingual participants (n = 3).


Supplemental Material S4. Model fit of sequential generalized multilevel regression models of non-stuttering-like disfluencies excluding bilingual participants (n = 3).


Supplemental Material S5. Results of final models of stuttering-like disfluencies (SLDs; M4) and non-stuttering-like disfluencies (non-SLDs; M4) excluding bilingual participants (n = 3).


Eichorn, N., & Pirutinsky, S. (2022). Dual-task effects on concurrent speech production in school-age children with and without stuttering disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_JSLHR-21-00426


Funding

This research was supported, in part, by an American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigators Research Grant to the first author.

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