244 – Preliminary investigation of the role of hot and cool executive function skills in developmental stuttering

Presentation - ECV2022-244

Preliminary investigation of the role of hot and cool executive function skills in developmental stuttering

Hatun Zengin Bolatkale, California State University Fresno, USA (hatun@csufresno.edu)
Burcu Akcay, Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey (brc.akcayy@gmail.com)
Merve Aksoy, Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey (m.merveaksoy@outlook.com)
Esra Kaymis, Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey (esrakaymis19@gmail.com)
Ramazan Sertan Ozdemir, Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey (rsozdemir@medipol.edu.tr)

Background: Current theoretical accounts of childhood stuttering (Smith & Weber, 2017) suggest the role of multiple factors, such as motor, linguistic, and emotional factors in the onset and development of childhood stuttering. Recently, there is growing evidence regarding the role of executive function skills in developmental stuttering. To date, most studies focused on “cool” executive function processes (e.g., working memory assessed by using digit span tasks). Knowledge of the role of “hot” executive function skills (e.g., inhibitory control measured using a delay of gratification task such as the marshmallow test) in childhood stuttering is very limited.

Aim: To determine differences between children who stutter and their typically fluent peers in terms of affective (“hot”) and non-affective (“cool”) dimensions of executive function skills and their relation to the childhood stuttering.

Method: Twenty-five monolingual Turkish speaking children who stutter and 25 typically fluent peers between 3–6-years of age participated in this study. Participants were classified into children who stutter (CWS) group if they exhibited three or more stuttered disfluencies per 100 words of conversational speech and/or scored 11 or greater on the Stuttering Severity Instrument-4. To control for any confounding effects of other speech-language disorders than stuttering, participants’ speech-language and hearing abilities were assessed using standardised tests of articulation/phonology, vocabulary, and language. To measure cool executive function skills, parents completed the Turkish adaptation of the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF; Gioia et al., 2003; Çiftçi, 2020). To investigate both cool executive function skills and temperament, parents completed the Turkish adaptation of the short version of the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ; Rothbart et al., 2001). For hot executive function skills, children played the Children’s Gambling Task (Kerr & Zelazo, 2004).

Results: This preliminary investigation did not find differences between CWS and their typically fluent peers in terms of hot and cool executive function skills. There are significant correlations between CWS’s stuttering, temperament and their hot and cool executive function skills.

Conclusions: The results of this study further our understanding of the role of cognitive processes in childhood stuttering by presenting preliminary evidence regarding hot and cold executive function skills, their relation to stuttering and aspects of temperament in children who do and do not stutter.

Implications for children and families: Children who do and do not stutter have similar cognitive control skills. Children’s affective and non-affective dimensions of cognitive control skills show some relationships to aspects of their temperament and stuttering. If you are curious about your child’s stuttering, contact a communication specialist such as a speech-language pathologist (speech and language therapist).

Implications for practitioners: Children who do and do not stutter show similarities in affective and non-affective dimensions of their executive function skills. Children’s temperament and their stuttering may relate to their executive function skills.

Key words: stuttering, executive function skills, temperament

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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