Evidence for the treatment of co-occurring stuttering and speech sound disorder

a clinical case series

Rachael Unicomb*, Sally Hewat, Elizabeth Spencer, Elisabeth Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: There is a paucity of evidence to guide treatment for children with co-occurring stuttering and speech sound disorder. Some guidelines suggest treating the two disorders simultaneously using indirect treatment approaches; however, the research supporting these recommendations is over 20 years old. In this clinical case series, we investigate whether these co-occurring disorders could be treated concurrently using direct treatment approaches supported by up-to-date, high-level evidence, and whether this could be done in an efficacious, safe and efficient manner. Method: Five pre-school-aged participants received individual concurrent, direct intervention for both stuttering and speech sound disorder. All participants used the Lidcombe Program, as manualised. Direct treatment for speech sound disorder was individualised based on analysis of each child’s sound system. Result: At 12 months post commencement of treatment, all except one participant had completed the Lidcombe Program, and were less than 1.0% syllables stuttered on samples gathered within and beyond the clinic. These four participants completed Stage 1 of the Lidcombe Program in between 14 and 22 clinic visits, consistent with current benchmark data for this programme. At the same assessment point, all five participants exhibited significant increases in percentage of consonants correct and were in alignment with age-expected estimates of this measure. Further, they were treated in an average number of clinic visits that compares favourably with other research on treatment for speech sound disorder. Conclusion: These preliminary results indicate that young children with co-occurring stuttering and speech sound disorder may be treated concurrently using direct treatment approaches. This method of service delivery may have implications for cost and time efficiency and may also address the crucial need for early intervention in both disorders. These positive findings highlight the need for further research in the area and contribute to the limited evidence base.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-264
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
    Issue number3
    Early online date14 Mar 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • Lidcombe Program
    • childhood stuttering
    • speech sound disorder
    • concurrent treatment

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