Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Christine Weber

Committee Chair

Christine Weber

Committee Member 1

Ann Smith

Committee Member 2

Bridget Walsh


The current study investigated the development of phonological awareness and the functional brain activity underlying phonological processing in children who stutter (CWS) and their fluent peers (CWNS) ages 3;9-6;6.

In the first part of the current study, we investigated the percent accuracy of 63 children (40 CWS, 23 CWNS) completing a real-word rhyme judgment task. In the second part of the study, we investigated the functional brain activity mediating rhyme judgments, as indexed by event-related potentials (ERPs), in 21 children (12 CWS, 9 CWNS).

Part one findings indicated that CWS and CWNS develop rhyme at similar and typical rates. Part two findings demonstrated that both CWS and CWNS show the classic central-parietal N400 rhyme effect; however, the groups differed in the anterior onset rhyme effect. As a group, CWNS showed a left lateralized anterior onset rhyme effect while CWS showed no effect. Analyzing participants individually, CWS showed variable lateralization of this effect.

These results support previous findings that the anterior onset rhyme effect differentiates CWS and CWNS and may have implications for identifying CWS who will recover or persist in stuttering. Support for the multifactorial model of stuttering is also discussed.