US Pharm. 2016;41(5):6.
In 2012, 7.7% of children aged 3 to 17 years had communication or swallowing disorders. Boys (9.6%) were more likely than girls (5.7%) to be affected. Children aged 3 to 6 years (11.0%) and 7 to 10 years (9.3%) were more likely than those aged 11 to 17 years (4.9%) to have a communication or swallowing disorder. The likelihood of these disorders was greater in children aged 3 to 10 years (33%) than those aged 11 to 17 years (25%). Speech problems were the most prevalent communication disorder (5%), swallowing problems were the least prevalent (0.9%), and language problems fell in between (3.3%). Among children aged 3 to 10 years, 13.6% had language problems and 4.3% had swallowing problems; among those aged 11 to 17 years, 23.2 % had language problems and 14.5% had swallowing problems.
Speech Disorders: Five percent of children develop noticeable idiopathic speech disorders. Speech sound disorders affect 8% to 9% of young children and are the most common communication or swallowing disorder, occurring in 41.8% of children aged 3 to 10 years and 24.4% of those aged 11 to 17 years. Stuttering occurs most frequently between ages 2 and 6 years, and the chance of occurrence is three times greater in boys than in girls. Most children outgrow stuttering as they age. In 2012, there was a marked overall decline in the prevalence of stuttering and other speech problems in children across all ages. Boys aged 3 to 14 years were twice as likely as girls to experience stuttering or other speech problems. However, the distribution appeared to rebalance at 15 to 17 years, when boys were only slightly more likely than girls to report stuttering.
Language Disorders: The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has estimated that about 6 to 8 million people—children and adults—have some form of language impairment. It is believed that the first 6 months of life are most crucial to a child’s development of language skills prior to school age.
Intervention: Overall, 55.2% of children aged 3 to 17 years with any communication or swallowing disorder had received an intervention service in the past 12 months. In children with speech problems, 67.6% received an intervention service. Among children with language problems, 66.8% received a language problem intervention service, and 12.7% of children with swallowing problems received an intervention service. Boys with a communication or swallowing disorder (59.4%) were more likely than girls (47.8%) to receive an intervention service. Children younger than 11 years were more likely than those aged 11 to 17 years to receive an intervention service.
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