Purpose: The natural stuttering recovery rate by adulthood is high. Community cohort studies suggest a much lower rate during the first 18 months after onset, but this may be different for clinical cohorts of pre-school aged children. The present research and case presentations add to data reported by Franken et al. by investigating early natural recovery for a clinical cohort.
Method: Participants were 16 pre-school children presenting to a clinic with stuttering onset 1-15 months earlier. The children were studied for a mean of 19.4 months (84.3 weeks) using parent report and clinician identification of stuttering from recorded conversations. The children received no treatment during the study. Data were obtained for each participant and are presented graphically.
Result: Experienced speech-language pathologists detected stuttering in the recordings of 3 of 4 children identified as recovered by their parents. Only 1 of the 16 children (6.3%) was confirmed as recovered.
Conclusion: There is no reason to believe that the early natural recovery rate for clinically presenting children is different from community cohorts. Parent report of natural recovery during the pre-school years needs to be confirmed by clinician observation of the child's speech; otherwise, there is risk of harmful false negative identification. The present data support the Yairi et al. different recovery pathways for children who stutter.
Keywords: natural recovery; pre-school; stuttering.