The Prevalence of Stuttering, Voice, and Speech-Sound Disorders in Primary School Students in Australia Purpose The aims of this study were threefold: to report teachers' estimates of the prevalence of speech disorders (specifically, stuttering, voice, and speech-sound disorders); to consider correspondence between the prevalence of speech disorders and gender, grade level, and socioeconomic status; and to describe the level of support provided to schoolchildren ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2007
The Prevalence of Stuttering, Voice, and Speech-Sound Disorders in Primary School Students in Australia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David H. McKinnon
    Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia
  • Sharynne McLeod
    Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia
  • Sheena Reilly
    La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
    Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
    Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  • Contact author: Sharynne McLeod, PhD, School of Teacher Education, Charles Sturt University, Panorama Avenue, Bathurst, NSW 2795, Australia. E-mail: smcleod@csu.edu.au
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2007
The Prevalence of Stuttering, Voice, and Speech-Sound Disorders in Primary School Students in Australia
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2007, Vol. 38, 5-15. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/002)
History: Received December 16, 2004 , Revised July 11, 2005 , Accepted April 10, 2006
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2007, Vol. 38, 5-15. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/002)
History: Received December 16, 2004; Revised July 11, 2005; Accepted April 10, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 47

Purpose The aims of this study were threefold: to report teachers' estimates of the prevalence of speech disorders (specifically, stuttering, voice, and speech-sound disorders); to consider correspondence between the prevalence of speech disorders and gender, grade level, and socioeconomic status; and to describe the level of support provided to schoolchildren with speech disorders.

Method Students with speech disorders were identified from 10,425 students in Australia using a 4-stage process: training in the data collection process, teacher identification, confirmation by a speech-language pathologist, and consultation with district special needs advisors.

Results The prevalence of students with speech disorders was estimated; specifically, 0.33% of students were identified as stuttering, 0.12% as having a voice disorder, and 1.06% as having a speech-sound disorder. There was a higher prevalence of speech disorders in males than in females. As grade level increased, the prevalence of speech disorders decreased. There was no significant difference in the pattern of prevalence across the three speech disorders and four socioeconomic groups; however, students who were identified with a speech disorder were more likely to be in the higher socioeconomic groups. Finally, there was a difference between the perceived and actual level of support that was provided to these students.

Conclusion These prevalence figures are lower than those using initial identification by speech-language pathologists and similar to those using parent report.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to thank the Catholic Schools Office, Broken Bay Diocese, for their collaboration in conducting the survey. In particular, we wish to thank Dennis Doherty, Mary Gow, Danny Rankin, and their special needs advisors in each cluster who assisted in the data collection. We also thank Steven Gibbs from the Spatial Analysis Network (SPAN) at Charles Sturt University for assisting with analyzing the socioeconomic data.
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