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Top picture: Research Associate Sarah Costelloe at Tours
Below: A child takes part in the attention study

 Early learning

An Update on Research at University Campus Suffolk (UCS)

Over 75 families across Norfolk and Suffolk are now taking part in the longitudinal study being carried out at the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) with funding from the Trust. The study focuses on identifying factors which cause children experiencing dysfluency to stammer persistently. It is being undertaken by Research Associate Sarah Costelloe under the direction of Dr Penny Cavenagh and in collaboration with Dr Steve Davis OBE of University College, London.

The research team has already collected a wealth of data on the potential risk factors that may be associated with the onset and persistence of stammering in young children.

So far the UCS findings support previous research in the area, such as a high incidence of family history of stammering in the children who stammer and also reveal other novel and interesting results.

The research is being developed further through a study examining the attention levels in children who stammer. Research linking stammering and attention is very much in its infancy and it is hoped that this work will provide a very important contribution to our understanding of how these factors may be connected.

To find out more about the project and read researcher Sarah Costelloe's newsletter, please click here > 

Parental attitudes to stammering and therapy

The UCS team is also embarking on new research, which builds on the Longitudinal study and capitalises on the strong relationships which have been forged with families over recent years. The questionnaire-based study, the first of its kind in the UK, aims to reveal what parents think about the causes of their child’s stammer, the coping strategies they use and their experiences of therapy. This study, in conjunction with the BSA, should be completed by the end of the year.

The current study revealed that there were significant differences between the families of children who stammer (CWS) and children who do not (CWNS). The health, behaviour and attention and learning difficulties of CSW caused parents more concern compared to parents of CWNS. They also reported greater difficulties in getting along as a family – findings supported by Beilby (2012).1 These differences may be as a result of the stammering or another causative factor. Further investigation by a researcher who is not generally the child’s SLT aims to reveal honest insight into these differences and into parents’ attitudes toward speech therapy. For example, some have not wanted therapy, or been satisfied with it and some parents believed that it was started too young – which conflicts with the current drive on early intervention. Parents, with a child under 10 who stammers, are welcome to take part in the survey, which can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MSS9TH2 .  It will take about 15 minutes and involves canvassing parents’ views on their child’s stammer and any therapy they may have had.

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