Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Clinical Review

Clinical management of stuttering in children and adults

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 24 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3742

Rapid Response:

Comment on stuttering review

In the June 25, 2011 edition of the British Medical Journal O'Brian
and Onslow2 provide an overview of clinical management of developmental
stuttering in children and adults. Included in that review is the
following statement: "An Australian cohort study (n=1619) of children
recruited at 8 months of age found that 8.5% had begun to stutter a (sic)
36 months of age, and 12.2% by 48 months.1"

Given the overwhelming contrary evidence from numerous surveys of
stuttering in children3 showing that an 8.5% prevalence in 3 year old
children is an extraordinarily high figure, then it becomes even more
extraordinary to claim a prevalence of 12.2% in 4 year old children. That
claim is made even more suspect because the supplied reference for the
finding1 does not contain any evidence justifying that claim. The Reilly
et al. (2009, p. 275) paper states clearly "This report includes onset
only up to 3 years." Neither the Reilly et al. report nor O'Brian and
Onslow's review contain any data on 4 year old children. This misleading
claim requires explanation.


1. Reilly S, Onslow M, Packman A, Wake M, Bavin EL, Prior M, et al.
Predicting stuttering onset by the age of 3 years: a prospective,
community cohort study. Pediatrics

2. O'Brian S, Onslow M. Clinical management of stuttering in children
and adults. BMJ 2011;342:d3742.

3. Bloodstein O, Ratner NB. A Handbook on Stuttering (6th ed.). New
York: Thompson.

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 July 2011
Roger J Ingham
University of California Santa Barbara