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Bilingual children more likely to stutter

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Children who are bilingual before the age of five are more likely to stutter and will find it harder to lose their impediment, a study has found.

Over half over children who spoke only English or another language at home before five had lost their stutter by the age of 12, while only one in four bilingual children had overcome their speech disorder.

From 1999-2007, 317 children referred for stutter were analysed – all from Greater London.

Parents were asked about the child’s stuttering history, what languages they spoke up until the age of five and SATS results were analysed.

Despite speech difficulties, the study found no evidence to suggest that bilingualism effected academic achievement.

Researchers suggest that children whose native language is not English may benefit from deferring the time when they learn it.

‘It reduces the chance of starting to stutter and aids the chances of recovery in later childhood,’ authors write.

Findings were published online in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood.

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