Background: The relation between disfluency and aspects of language, including phonology, has been investigated for many years. Whereas past literature reported that the incidence of phonological difficulties is higher in children who stutter when compared to normally fluent children, the suggestion of association between the two disorders also drew several critical evaluation. This study investigated the phonological awareness abilities of four- and five- year old non-fluent preschool children.
Methods: This cross-sectional comparative study was done on 50 children. 25 non-fluent preschool children (21 boys and 4 girls) were paired according to age, sex and socioeconomic status to their typically fluent peers. Participants completed multiple measures of phonological awareness abilities, as well as measures of expressive and receptive vocabulary and articulation.
Results: Regarding the scores of the phonological awareness test there were significant differences between non-fluent children and their typically fluent peers. The four year old children who were non-fluent performed significantly less well than their typically fluent peers on tasks of syllable awareness, intra syllable awareness and phoneme syllable awareness. The five year old non-fluent preschool children performed significantly less well than their typically fluent peers on tasks of intra syllable awareness and phoneme syllable awareness.
Conclusion: Results suggest that non-fluent preschool children have phonological differences in aspects of phonological awareness that may contribute to an unstable language planning system in preschool children who stutter.