Research Notes

Temperament and Stuttering

Kurt Eggers, Ghent U, Thomas More, & Turku U,  and Robin Jones, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Rothbart defines temperament as constitutionally based individual differences in reactivity and self-regulation (Rothbart, 2011). In this definition, ‘reactivity’ refers to the arousability of physiological and sensory response systems, and ‘self-regulation’ are those processes that can modulate (facilitate or inhibit) one’s reactivity. When a child is confronted with a stimulus, it may lead to positive (e.g., smiling) or negative (e.g., fear, anger) reactivity within the child. This is overtly and/or covertly expressed and can be measured through somatic (e.g., facial expressions), autonomic (e.g., heart rate increase), cognitive (e.g., alerting), and neuroendocrine (e.g., cortisol release) responses. As the child grows older, s/he will be able to modulate this reactivity by using self-regulation processes (e.g., shifting one’s attention away or towards the stimulus) to increase positive reactivity and/or decrease negative reactivity. Thus, over time temperament structure changes from a predominantly reactivity-driven concept in infants to a structure with more emphasis on self-regulatory processes in older children.

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Early intervention for stuttering: the evidence

Marie-Christine Franken, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Some 40 years ago, the notion arose that the success of stuttering therapy in its advanced stages (be it important for the individuals concerned) was limited on public health scale. One began to explore early intervention methods to eliminate stuttering at the time it begins. That desire was not without controversy. Apart from - mainly medical - thoughts that early therapy was not required (‘it will naturally disappear’), the notion that directing attention to stuttering was the cause of the problem dominated the professional thinking, esp. in the north-western part of the world.

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Cluttering and stuttering: are they interrelated or separate disorders?

David Ward, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, UK

for brevity, all references are given by hyperlinks, leading to the original sources.

The answer to this interesting and recurring question begins with the fundamental issue as to what is, and is not, cluttering. Earlier research implicated executive functioning, whilst more recently some have conceived cluttering as a language based disorder. The International Cluttering Association’s (2018) TPA-CC model reflects a synthesis of a range of thinking on definition, whilst St Louis and Schulte’s lowest common denominator definition is arguably the ‘safest’ (most constrained). Here, cluttering is viewed as a rate-based disorder and language and executive functioning variables are excluded, although they may both appear as concomitants. 

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Imaging genetics research in stuttering: Connecting the dots

Ho Ming Chow1 and Soo-Eun Chang2
Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 
2Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Stuttering is widely considered as a neurodevelopmental disorder, an umbrella term comprising childhood-onset disorders that affect the development of specific abilities, including executive control, language, and motor function, with no obvious cause. Like many neurodevelopmental disorders, the etiology of stuttering is not fully known and is likely to be complex. 

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Report on transcranial magnetic stimulation in persistent developmental stuttering

Martin Sommer
University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany

Structural imaging data suggest a disconnection of speech relevant brain areas as an underlying neurological correlate of persistent developmental stuttering. We wondered how this translates into measurable dysfunctions of speech preparation. To study this, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation over the part of the motor cortex controlling the tongue, a key articulatory muscle.

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