The Speech Neurophysiology lab conducts research on the neural bases of developmental stuttering, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by frequent occurrences of sound-syllable repetitions, prolongations, and blocks that interrupt the flow and rhythm of speech production. Stuttering affects approximately 1% of the population, and 5% of preschool age children. The cause of stuttering is unknown, although accumulating evidence points to a neurodevelopmental etiology. Treatment options for stuttering remain limited.


Our studies involve analyses of brain functional and structural measures acquired through multimodal neuroimaging methods such as fMRI, DTI, structural MRI, fNIRS, and EEG.  Using these techniques, we are able to examine subtle differences in brain functional and structural connectivity that differentiate people who stutter compared to people who do not stutter. These findings are expected to help us better understand the mechanisms behind stuttering onset, persistence, and recovery and further lead to investigations to develop novel treatments for stuttering in the future.


Funded by the NIH (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)), our lab also conducts one of the first studies to examine brain developmental trajectories in children who stutter. This research is expected to lead to novel insights into the brain bases of stuttering during childhood. This research is currently being conducted at both the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and the Michigan State University (MSU) (East Lansing) campuses. 

Recent news

November 29

University of Michigan is hosting Giving Blue Day taking place on Tuesday, November 29th. Consider supporting the Matthew K. Smith Stuttering Research Fund. This is a funding drive to help support stuttering research at the University of Michigan. Donations will be matched up to $10k by our generous donor, Mr. Matt Smith.

November 17

Notice of Award received on a new NIH R21 award entitled: Imaging Genetics study of twins who stutter. This study seeks to investigate the extent of genetic versus environmental influences on brain differences found in children who stutter. Congratulations to Dr. Chang and the research team!

November 17-20 

SNL presented more than 10 presentations at this year's ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) Convention held in Philadelphia, PA.  Some abstract titles below!

Chang, S-E (Invited Seminar). The role of genetics and neurobiology in the development of stuttering. 

Garnett, E. O., Chow, H., & Chang, S-E. Differences in neuroanatomical development trajectories in children who do and do not stutter. 

Ayres, K., Dilley, L., Wieland, E., Morrill, T., Arjmandi, M., Chang, S-E. Rhythm perception and temporal expectation in people who do and do not stutter.

Wieland, E., McAuley, D., Chow, H., Zhu, D., Chang, S-E.  Rhythm perception and functional connectivity differences in adults who stutter.  *ASHA Student Research Award

Daliri, A., Wieland, E., Cai, S., Guenther, F., Chang, S-E. Auditory-motor adaptation is reduced in adults who stutter but not in children who stutter. 

Choo, A., Johnson, C., Jones, K., Macker, N., Chang, S-E.  Very mild stuttering versus disfluent non-stuttering children: Diagnostic utility of the weighted stuttering-like disfluencies measure.

Chow, H., Choo, A., Garnett, E.O., & Chang, S-E. Brain morphology differences distinguish children with persistent stuttering from those who recovered.

Johnson, C., Chow, H., Garnett, E.O., Chang, S-E. Can linguistic development trajectories differentiate between children who do and do not recover from stuttering?

Choo, A., Garnett, E.O., Chow, H., Chang, S-E. (2016). Modulating neural activity with non-invasive brain stimulation in adults who stutter. 

November  7, 2016

SNL hosted the viewing of "The Way We Talk", a documentary on stuttering, at the Studio C theater in East Lansing, MI. Dr. Chang answered questions from the audience on a range of topics on stuttering following the viewing. Jeff Fett, stuttering support group leader in the Lansing chapter, and many of the MSU CSD faculty and students, and area clinicians attended.

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