To the Editor:
We applaud Education Week’s article “Scholars Say Causes of Stuttering Are Multiple and Interconnected” (March 2, 2011). However, none of the experts quoted mentioned the exciting research on plasticity of the brain and how this relates to the prevention of stuttering in very young children.
Dr. Christy Ludlow in the Journal of Fluency Disorders discusses refinement of the neural processes essential for the development of normal speech. Some synaptic connections are enhanced through use; others are lost through inactivity. Early intervention through speech therapy facilitates the development of normal speech.
In families such as mine where there is a strong genetic predisposition, not a single family member stutters today, some four generations after both my father and uncle struggled with severe stuttering. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren received early and effective treatment—a valid reason to be optimistic.
Stuttering Foundation of America
A version of this article appeared in the March 30, 2011 edition of Education Week as Cause for Optimism in Stuttering Research