Speech and Communication Disorders

Photograph of a male doctor talking to a boy in an exam room

Many disorders can affect our ability to speak and communicate. They range from saying sounds incorrectly to being completely unable to speak or understand speech. Causes include

  • Hearing disorders and deafness
  • Voice problems, such as dysphonia or those caused by cleft lip or palate
  • Speech problems like stuttering
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Learning disorders
  • Autism
  • Brain injury
  • Stroke

Some speech and communication problems may be genetic. Often, no one knows the causes. By first grade, about 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders. Speech and language therapy can help.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

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