Changing Nonstuttering Preschool Children's Stuttering Attitudes

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2018 Nov 21;27(4):1445-1457. doi: 10.1044/2018_AJSLP-18-0019.


Purpose: Negative or uninformed stuttering attitudes proliferate among the general public, and bourgeoning research has shown that such attitudes might emerge as early as the preschool years. Much remains unknown about young children's stuttering attitudes, and conclusive recommendations to improve attitudes toward stuttering have yet to be advanced. This study sought to determine the effect of a new educational program on improving stuttering attitudes among preschool children using objective measures.

Method: Thirty-seven preschool children learned about stuttering and sensitive peer interactions by participating in the newly developed Attitude Change and Tolerance program. The program teaches children about human differences with an emphasis on stuttering and how to interact with people who stutter. Children's stuttering attitudes were measured using the Public Opinion Survey of Human Attributes-Stuttering/Child (Weidner & St. Louis, 2014) before and after the program.

Results: Pre-post comparisons showed statistically significant improvements in children's overall stuttering attitudes. In particular, children demonstrated gains relative to their perceptions of and reactions toward people who stutter.

Conclusion: This study provides empirical evidence that young children's stuttering attitudes can be improved using the Attitude Change and Tolerance program. In addition, it supports previous research that negative stuttering attitudes emerge as early as preschool.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude*
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Peer Influence*
  • Psychological Distance
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Intelligibility
  • Speech Perception*
  • Stuttering / diagnosis
  • Stuttering / physiopathology
  • Stuttering / psychology*
  • Voice Quality*