Stuttering is a disorder of speech with a prevalence estimated to be 1% of the World's population. It is often a significant handicap for the individual and can limit employment opportunities; and social and psychological adjustment. The etiology of stuttering is unknown, and standardized, successful treatments for stuttering have not been developed. A major impediment to understanding the etiology of stuttering and to the development of successful therapeutic techniques is the lack of understanding of the physiological bases of the disorder. Stuttering manifests itself as a breakdown in speech motor processes. The complex variables known to affect the occurrence of stuttering, such as emotional state or speaking situation, must ultimately have an effect on the physiological events necessary for the production of speech. Therefore, to understand stuttering it is essential to understand the physiological mechanism underlying the disruptions of speech motor behavior in stuttering. The research proposed in this application addresses two general questions: What are the physiological correlates of speech breakdown in stuttering and is stuttering a disorder that arises, in part, from a generalized deficit in sensorimotor organization? The specific aims are (1) to provide quantitative analyses of activity of articulatory, laryngeal, and respiratory muscles prior to, during, and after disfluencies, (2) to determine if changes in autonomic function are associated with stuttering, (3) to use electromyographic, kinematic, and autonomic measures to develop pattern recognition algorithms to determine if there is a consistent set of physiological events that is associated with disfluent behavior and that can be used to recognize impending breakdowns, and (4) to determine if stutterers can be discriminated from nonstutterers on the basis of measures of timing performance in a wide range of motor behaviors.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Sensory Disorders and Language Study Section (CMS)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Purdue University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
West Lafayette
United States
Zip Code
Walsh, Bridget; Usler, Evan; Bostian, Anna et al. (2018) What Are Predictors for Persistence in Childhood Stuttering? Semin Speech Lang 39:299-312
Usler, Evan R; Walsh, Bridget (2018) The Effects of Syntactic Complexity and Sentence Length on the Speech Motor Control of School-Age Children Who Stutter. J Speech Lang Hear Res 61:2157-2167
Usler, Evan; Smith, Anne; Weber, Christine (2017) A Lag in Speech Motor Coordination During Sentence Production Is Associated With Stuttering Persistence in Young Children. J Speech Lang Hear Res 60:51-61
Kreidler, Kathryn; Hampton Wray, Amanda; Usler, Evan et al. (2017) Neural Indices of Semantic Processing in Early Childhood Distinguish Eventual Stuttering Persistence and Recovery. J Speech Lang Hear Res 60:3118-3134
Leech, Kathryn A; Bernstein Ratner, Nan; Brown, Barbara et al. (2017) Preliminary Evidence That Growth in Productive Language Differentiates Childhood Stuttering Persistence and Recovery. J Speech Lang Hear Res 60:3097-3109
Smith, Anne; Weber, Christine (2017) How Stuttering Develops: The Multifactorial Dynamic Pathways Theory. J Speech Lang Hear Res 60:2483-2505
Hilger, Allison I; Zelaznik, Howard; Smith, Anne (2016) Evidence That Bimanual Motor Timing Performance Is Not a Significant Factor in Developmental Stuttering. J Speech Lang Hear Res 59:674-85
Smith, Anne; Weber, Christine (2016) Childhood Stuttering: Where Are We and Where Are We Going? Semin Speech Lang 37:291-297
Mohan, Ranjini; Weber, Christine (2015) Neural systems mediating processing of sound units of language distinguish recovery versus persistence in stuttering. J Neurodev Disord 7:28
Tumanova, Victoria; Zebrowski, Patricia M; Goodman, Shawn S et al. (2015) Motor practice effects and sensorimotor integration in adults who stutter: Evidence from visuomotor tracking performance. J Fluency Disord 45:52-72

Showing the most recent 10 out of 60 publications