Katerina Ntourou has two very unique attributes: she is a native of Greece who now considers Oklahoma home and she’s one of very few experts in the state focused on researching stuttering in children and adults. Currently an assistant professor at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Dr. Ntourou (or Dr. Kat as her students call her) is working to understand the causes and potential solutions for the social anxiety that can plague those who stutter.
Dr. Kat first got interested in studying stuttering while working as a speech-language pathologist with young children who stutter and their families in Greece. It was that interest that motivated her to leave Greece and pursue a PhD at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Kat is quick to point out that stuttering is very misunderstood. Among the myths are that the cause of stuttering is nervousness or stress and that those who stutter are less intelligent than those who don’t.
Stuttering typically starts around 2 to 4 years of age, but for the majority of children, it resolves within the first few months. Approximately 1 percent of the population stutters. Given the estimated population of Oklahoma at around 4 million people, there are close to 40,000 individuals who stutter in our state.
For the last two years, Dr. Kat has led a study about stuttering for kids ages 3 to 12. During an initial meeting via a video conference call and a follow-up in-person visit at her research lab, Dr. Kat conducts an in-depth stuttering assessment. At the end of the in-person visit, Dr. Kat provides the parent(s) with the test results, answers questions and provides resources. Parents who have their child participate in the study are compensated for their efforts.
“My goal in all that I do professionally is to help those who stutter to be confident, competent communicators who don’t let stuttering define them,” said Dr. Ntourou.
“In fulfilling that goal, I know how important it is for me to be a resource to parents. I’m happy to visit with those who either want their child to participate in the study or those whose child’s age is outside the range of the study to help them any way I can.”
Dr. Katerina Ntourou
Assistant Professor, OUHSC
Learn more about the study by scanning the code.