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Along with difficulties to produce fluent speech, individuals who stutter have been found to display differences in other areas of communication, such as language, articulation, reading, and cognitive abilities, as well as working memory. Working memory is a higher cognitive function underlying thinking and learning; therefore, reduced working memory skills may contribute to the variety of difficulties experienced by individuals who stutter. The purpose of this study was to investigate the working memory abilities of children who stutter. A relationship has been found between working memory skills and producing efficient discourse. The present study explored the relationship between working memory capabilities and performance on picture elicited discourse tasks in two children who stuttered, ages 5 and 9 and age-matched controls. Discourse was evaluated for productivity, efficiency, and local coherence.
Results showed that the children who stuttered scored lower on the Recognition Memory Test and the Nonword Memory Test than their age-matched peers. The children who stuttered also provided fewer ideas and produced fewer words per idea than the children who did not stutter. Third, disfluencies of the stuttering group increased with each successive picture stimulus during the discourse task. The results of this study can contribute to the current knowledge of the profile of a child who stutters and lead to more efficient treatment strategies.
Tredway, Megan, "Cognitive Aspects of Stuttering" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 45.