Stuttering among Children in Nairobi: A Case Study of the Linguistic Symptoms and Intervention Strategies
Mwangi, Ruth Naisiae
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Stuttering is a speech or language disfluency that affects 5% of the population during the childhood years. This percentage reduces to 1% in adulthood. Stuttering can be managed better if discovered early in childhood if intervention strategies are applied just as soon as a diagnosis is given. This study sought to investigate the different types of stuttering in children based on linguistic symptoms, describe the intervention techniques employed by both parents and speech language therapists (SLT) and assess the effectiveness of these intervening methods against internationally recognized standards. The study aimed at demonstrating that there are children who stutter (CWS) in Kenya and how to identify the type of stutter using linguistic analysis. The research also investigated the intervention strategies that were carried out by speech language therapists and parents or guardians and how effective they are. The Covert Repair Hypothesis was used to explain the moments of stutter and the EXPLAN theory to analyse the effectiveness of intervention techniques employed by speech language therapists and parents. A descriptive research design was employed after the recorded data was transcribed and the data was translated using graphical schemes. The researcher first identified two SLT who then connected the researcher to the three CWS currently receiving consistent therapy for developmental stuttering as well as the primary caregiver who is involved in the intervention strategies. The data was collected from i) the CWS by use of a recorder in the form of guided narratives and picture naming exercises; ii) observation lists to capture secondary stuttering behaviours; iii) questionnaires were filled by the parents to facilitate the demographics of the CWS and their therapy histories and iv) semi-structured interviews were also held with the SLTs to discover the intervention strategies and diagnostic tactics used. The recorded data was transcribed for the data analysis, the observation checklists were tabulated, the questionnaires were cast onto pie charts to capture the CWS demographics and the interviews were transcribed. The findings are as follows: There are different types of stuttering in children that vary in different degrees in each child. Phonetic elements like alveolar sounds, fricatives, bilabial plosives and approximants played a key role in the manifestation of these types of stutter. The SLTs adopted The Lidcombe Program as the intervention strategy to treat the stutter in which the parents were involved. This strategy proved effective and age appropriate for the CWS. The recommendations are that there is a need for assessment and diagnostic test to identify the stutter in children for early intervention as well as the need to create awareness in Nairobi, Kenya. Parents, speech language therapists and education planners are expected to benefit from the research findings in dealing with CWS especially in alleviating the stutter.