Communication disorders in preschool children

  • Anne O'Hare
    Anne O'Hare MD FRCP FRCPCH is a Consultant Paediatrician and Honorary Professor of Child Life and Health, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. Conflict of interest: none
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      Communication disorders in preschool children present from a wide range of underlying disturbances of development, ranging from those secondary to a sensorineural hearing impairment and autism, through to primary specific speech and language impairments where there is no underlying neurological disorder and the child has normal non-verbal cognitive development. These are high prevalence disorders that can have long term, detrimental effects on wellbeing, activity and participation and yet for which there is both increasing understanding of the underlying aetiologies and an evidence base for intervention. This review discusses the clinical characteristics of the communication findings in preverbal, speech and language skills, the salient features to identify in the paediatric assessment and the direction of investigations informed from recent developments in our understanding of the genetics and the pathophysiology. It concludes with an overview of present effective interventions.


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