A recent U.S.-based survey (Boyle et al,. 2011) estimated stuttering prevalence in American children ages 3-17 years at 1.6% or 1 in 63 children. In comparison to the reported 1 in 68 school age children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010), stuttering affects nearly as many. These estimates suggest that Speech-Language Pathologist (SLPs) should increasingly develop their skill sets for identifying and providing interventions for children who stutter.
The evidence base for school-age fluency intervention, while promising, leaves much room for further development (Nippold, 2011). The majority of current interventions revolve around the traditional methods of fluency shaping and stuttering management. While these approaches are widely used, there is limited evidence to support their efficacy with the school-aged population (Bothe, et al., 2006). In addition, there is disagreement about whether treatment of stuttering in children should focus exclusively on “building fluent speech” or, whether interventions should also include cognitive/emotional components (Yaruss, Coleman, & Quesal, 2012) as are often associated with interventions for stuttering in adults.
As a solution to the need for a cognitive/emotional component, Michael Boyle (2011) suggested including mindfulness in school-aged stuttering intervention by pointing out the similarities between the advantages of mindfulness treatment and personality traits necessary for long-term fluency maintenance. Although there has not yet been any published research in direct support of this idea, the notion that these three elements influence the effects of fluency intervention provides a foundation for the proposed research questions.
Graepel, Jenna Lee, (2015). Mindfulness Attributes as Predictors of Treatment Outcomes in Children Who Stutter. Graduate Theses and Dissertations. University of South Florida, http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/etd/5691