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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-25

Prevalence and etiology of communication disorders in children attending Alexandria University Children’s Hospital, Egypt


1 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
2 Phoniatrics Unit, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mona Khalil
Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, 21526
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/AJOP.AJOP_5_17

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Background Communication development in children usually follows a fairly predictable pattern, paralleling general cognitive development. Any problem in communication is likely to have a significant effect on a child’s social and academic skills and behavior. Objective The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and determine the possible etiologies of communication disorders in children attending the Outpatient Clinic of Alexandria University Children’s Hospital. Patients and methods Children attending the Outpatient Clinic of Alexandria University Children’s Hospital during a period of 6 months within the age range of 3–6 years were included in the study. A noninterventional descriptive cross-sectional hospital-based study was used. A structured questionnaire was used to identify communication complaints and their types from the parents’ perspectives besides their sociodemographic data. Children with positive complaints were evaluated using National Health Services-Lothian Guidelines for Referral to Speech and Language Therapy. The studied children underwent neurodevelopmental assessment and physical examination to identify possible etiologies of communication disorders and their distribution. Results In the studied sample of 280 children, the prevalence of significant communication complaints was 23.2% and the prevalence of confirmed communication disorders was 10%. The total prevalence of confirmed delayed language development (DLD) in the studied sample was 6.4%; 1.8% of the had specific language impairment, 1.4% had environmental DLD, 1.4% had DLD due to mental retardation, 1.1% had DLD associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and 0.7% had DLD due to autism spectrum disorders. The total prevalence of confirmed speech disorders in the studied sample was 3.2%; motor and speech-sound defects constituted 2.1% of the studied sample, 0.7% had dysfluency, and 0.4% had postadenoidectomy hypernasality. The total prevalence of confirmed voice disorders in the studied sample was 0.4%, with vocal polyp. Moreover, the study showed that sex, history of perinatal/postnatal events, and presence of medical health problems had significant effects on children’s communication development. Conclusion Communication disorders are common in pediatric patients. Sex, history of perinatal events, and presence of significant comorbid medical conditions are significant risk factors for developing communication disorders. Parents’ awareness of communication development is poor, and pediatricians need to be more aware of communication development assessment, management plan of communication disorders, and referral indications.


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