Sensorimotor integration for speech and nonspeech movements in children and adults who stutter


1160 av des Pins ouest, Goodman Cancer Research Centre, Room 501, CA, 1200 Pine Avenue West, CA

In this presentation, I will describe and integrate recent results from several studies examining sensorimotor functioning in stuttering children and adults. In a series of sensorimotor adaptation studies, using both speech and nonspeech paradigms, we have examined the ability of stuttering and nonstuttering children and adults to learn a new mapping between sensory and motor systems. Using a robotic device that can both measure active jaw movements and implement passive jaw movements, we have attempted to identify sensory vs. motor difficulties. Using electrophysiological techniques, we have studied modulatory effects of the motor system on sensory processing. In addition, we have examined stuttering and nonstuttering individuals’ movement accuracy for speech as well as nonspeech motor tasks. The combined results indicate that stuttering is associated with inefficient sensorimotor integration and the acquisition of inaccurate neural representations of sensory-motor mappings (i.e., internal models). I will discuss these results in the context of our previously formulated theoretical model regarding the neural bases of stuttering.