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Future Research and Clinical Directions in

Stuttering: Global Considerations

By Ehud Yairi, Ph.D. University of Illinois and Tel Aviv University

Speculation on the future is a risky

venture, but the accompanied excite- ment renders it a worthwhile one. Indeed, the outlook for stuttering re- search and treatment is an excite- ment generator. My thoughts about some future developments begin with several “facts on the ground” that will impact such a future.

Epidemiology At present, 7.2 billion people in-

habit our planet. Applying the con- ventional 5% life- time incidence and 1% prevalence for stuttering, million

360 people Ehud Yairi, Ph.D.

world-wide have experienced stut- tering in their life- time, including 72

million exhibiting active stuttering. By 2040, the world’s population will exceed 9 billion, with 450 million people who stuttered in their life- time and 90 million who actively stutter. Figures could be much larg- er if recent incidence reports of 8- 11%1,2 are confirmed. At the same time, as seen below, professional help is limited even in advanced countries while nearly unavailable in poor ones. The huge population with in-

creasing economic power and grow- ing demands, yet facing a scarcity of clinical services (most clinicians are not experts in stuttering), can be predicted to impact research toward Continued on page 6

Be Sure to Pack Your ID Card Have you ever been stopped

for speeding or had trouble when ques- tioned coming through airport security? If you have, whether you stutter or not, you know how tough these two situations can be. In February, the Stuttering

Donʼt Leave Home Without It “Not only have we been told by

Print your own card, page 15

many people who stutter that the ID card is a helpful tool but we have also learned from TSA offi- cials and police staff

that they appreciate knowing that the hesitations and repetitions they hear are not a sign of suspi- cion,”


Foundation announced the cre- ation of a free ID card available to all those who stutter, designed to help them in stressful “what’s your name?” situations.


President Jane Fraser. “When see- ing the card, TSA agents quickly understand why some travelers may have trouble giving their Continued on page 14

Differences in the Brains of People Who Stutter

What are they? How do we know they exist?

By Kate Watkins, Ph.D. St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford

My research group at the

University of Oxford in the UK is interested in understanding the role of the brain in fluency disor- ders. In particular, we are interest- ed in whether brain differences exist in association with stuttering and whether such differences

might cause people to stutter. Our research benefits enormously from the availability of MRI


which allow us to obtain exquisite pictures of the brain’s anatomy and its function in only a few minutes. The ma- chines that we use are safe to scan even new-born babies – although

Kate Watkins, Ph.D. Continued on page 8

 Since 1947 ... Helping Those Who Stutter

National Stuttering Awareness Week is May 9-15

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