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Child Speech/Language Disorders

Specific language impairment (SLI) is diagnosed when a child's language does not develop normally and the difficulties cannot be accounted for by generally slow development, physical abnormality of the speech apparatus, autism spectrum disorder, apraxia, acquired brain damage or hearing loss. Twin studies have shown that it is under genetic influence. Although language impairment can result from a single-gene mutation, this is unusual. More commonly SLI results from the combined influence of multiple genetic variants, each of which is found in the general population, as well as environmental influences.

Developmental verbal dyspraxia (DVD), also known as childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) and developmental apraxia of speech (DAS), is when children have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what they want to say, but their brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.[2] The exact cause of this disorder is unknown. Some observations suggest a genetic cause of DVD, as many with the disorder have a family history of communication disorders. There is no cure for DVD, but with appropriate, intensive intervention, people with this motor speech disorder can improve significantly.

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