Now, thanks to a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Yairi and his colleagues hope to further expand the existing knowledge base on stuttering. The project, which seeks to identify subtypes of stuttering, includes 11 scientists from the UI, Northern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, University of Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Purdue University.
Yairi said the new grant is the largest in the country in terms of funding, and quite likely, in the scope and level of activities. As principal investigator, the UI professor will provide leadership for the entire project, which will explore four sets of factors that are believed to play a role in the onset and development of childhood stuttering. Areas to be examined and individuals heading the studies are language function, Ruth Watkins, UI; epidemiology, Nicoline Ambrose, UI; motor/physiological functions, Patricia Zebrowski, Iowa; and psychological factors, Ellen Kelly, Purdue.
In many respects, stuttering is a disorder of early childhood, Yairi said, noting that close to 80 percent of children who stutter begin by age 3 1/2. However, most children about 75 percent develop normal speech fluency within about four years of stuttering onset. That alters the traditional model, he said, which held that children who did not receive intervention continued to get worse. In f
Contact: Melissa Mitchell
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign