A Comparison of Speech Disfluencies in Bilingual Spanish-English Children Who Do and Do Not Stutter: A Preliminary Investigation
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Bilingual Spanish-English (SE) children who do not stutter (CWNS) are known to exceed the diagnostic criteria for developmental stuttering based on monolingual English speakers. Therefore, this population is at risk of being misdiagnosed as children who stutter (CWS). The purpose of this study is to examine the speech disfluency frequency and type of bilingual SE CWS to SE CWNS during narrative samples elicited in Spanish and English to provide further diagnostic information for this population. Participants included 5 bilingual Spanish-English children (2 CWS, 3 CWNS) ranging in age from 5 years to 7 years and 5 months and recruited from the surrounding Houston, Texas area. Findings indicate that the current diagnostic criteria for developmental stuttering, based on monolingual English speakers, are not appropriate for bilingual Spanish-English children who do not stutter because it is too low for this population. Regardless of the language being spoken, CWS participants had a frequency of stuttering-like disfluencies that exceeded the diagnostic criteria for developmental stuttering that is based on monolingual English speakers. The CWNS participants varied in meeting the criteria depending on the language being spoken. Findings from this study may contribute to the stuttering frequency criteria specific to bilingual SE children to reduce misdiagnoses of stuttering in this population.