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Unsolicited longitudinal onset data on preschool stuttering 

A Blunder from Down Under:

Stuttering Foundation Warns Parents Not To Be Misled By Headlines Surrounding Australian Study on Preschoolers’ Stuttering

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (August 26, 2013) – The headlines topping reports about a new Australian study on preschoolers’ stuttering are creating concerns for the Stuttering Foundation.

“Headlines heralding ‘Preschoolers’ Stuttering Not Harmful’ send a mixed message to parents – one that could be troublesome for children who stutter. Our biggest concern is that parents will just see this headline, and read no further,” said Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation. “For decades, we have advocated that parents should gather credible information about stuttering and seek early intervention. But these headlines seem to indicate there is little cause for concern or no immediate need to seek help. In many cases, this approach is just not acceptable.”

Fraser also discussed further concerns with the new study. “The biggest problem with the data is that it stops at age four, just when one might expect to see some harmful effects from stuttering. In addition, the study includes only 142 children. It is far too early to interpret the findings because we do not know how many of these children continued to stutter and what effects it had on them and their lives.”

For more than six decades, the Stuttering Foundation has provided guidance, support and materials to parents of children who stutter. Current, timely and accurate information for parents about children and stuttering is now available in a new 16-minute video titled, “7 Tips for Talking with the Child Who Stutters” available from the Stuttering Foundation.

In the video, a group of speech-language experts talk compassionately and directly to adults about how to promote easier talking as they interact with their preschool-age children. The professionals offer simple, easy-to-do tips that parents can begin to use immediately.

“The so-called ‘wait and see’ approach, advocated by some, is an awfully bitter pill for  parents to swallow when they find their child struggling to speak,” Fraser said. “Experience tells us parents want answers immediately. What we are advocating instead is ‘click and see’ – we have a new video available for free that answers many of the most frequently asked questions by parents of preschoolers.

“Through our website,, and a DVD being sent to more than 50,000 pediatricians, we have made the leading voices on preschool stuttering available to parents around the world to answer their tough questions and to offer practical strategies parents can use to support their young child’s communication skills and build confidence.”

The video features some of the world’s leading hands-on therapists working with preschool children who stutter. They include Lisa A. Scott, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, of The Florida State University’s School of Communication Science and Disorders; Ellen Kelly, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; speech-language consultants Frances Cook,MBE, MSc, MRCSLT (Hons), Cert CT (Oxford), Willie Botterill, MSc, MRCSLT, Cert CT and Elaine Kelman, MSc, MRCSLT, Cert CBT from the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in London.

“I believe this video will make a real difference for parents who are anxious and feel helpless when their child first begins to stutter,” added Fraser. “They often think it is their fault and wonder what they have done wrong. This video should help ease their fears while focusing their efforts on doing things that will help the child right away.”


Foundation Spokesperson Jane Fraser

Jane Fraser is president of The Stuttering Foundation and co-author of If Your Child Stutters: A Guide for Parents, 8th edition. She is also vice president of the Action for Stammering Children, Michael Palin Centre, London.


About the Stuttering Foundation

Malcolm Fraser, a successful businessman and stutterer, went on to establish and endow the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation in 1947. The Foundation provides a toll-free helpline, 800-992-9392, and free online resources at, including services, referrals and support for people who stutter and their families, as well as support for research into the causes of stuttering.

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