CHILDREN WITH COMMUNICATION DISORDERS
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF COMMUNICATION DISORDERS?
The brain is complex and our understanding is very limited. For the majority of communication disorders we do not yet understand the cause. However, we do have an understanding of how to help many children to maximize their speech and language development.
A few known causes of communication disorders are:
Hearing impairment - full or partial hearing impairment may cause difficulty in speech and language development. An assessment of hearing is one of the first steps in the investigation of speech and language problems.
Physical disability - cleft lip and palate, or malformations of the mouth or nose may cause communication disorders. More involved disabilities, such as severe cerebral palsy, may preclude any speech at all and for these non-verbal children augmentative communication methods must be used.
Developmental disability - some children (not all) with a developmental disability or Down's Syndrome may be slower to learn to talk and may need extra assistance.
Children with learning disabilities may have communication disorders. Many learning disabled children have difficulty with receptive or expressive language. Without appropriate intervention children with communication disorders are at high risk for educational failure.
Children with Pervasive Development Disorders (P.D.D.), or Autism spectrum disorders will also have communication disorders. Many children with PDD or Autism have difficulty with social skills and their behaviour and conversation skills may be limited or inappropriate. Often there is an associated language disorder.
Children with significant behaviour or emotional problems may also have a communication disorder. In some cases the behaviour problems are extreme and the focus on the safety and security of the child is the priority. However, evaluation by qualified professionals, including Speech-Language Pathologist, often reveal language disorders which have not been recognized or treated.