Risk factors for speech disorders in children

Annette V. Fox*, Barbara Dodd, David Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)


The study evaluated the relationship between risk factors and speech disorders. The parents of 65 children with functional speech disorders (aged 2;7-7;2) and 48 normally speaking controls (aged 3;4-6;1) completed a questionnaire investigating risk factors associated in the literature with developmental communication disorders. The findings indicated that some risk factors (pre- and perinatal problems, ear, nose and throat (ENT) problems, and sucking habits and positive family history) distinguished speech-disordered from normally speaking control populations. The present study also investigated whether specific risk factors were associated with three subgroups of speech disorders identified according to their surface error patterns as suggested by Dodd (1995). No risk factor apart from pre- and perinatal factors could be found that differentiated these subgroups of speech disorder, so that none of the subgroups exhibited a specific profile of risk factor involvement. Neither was it possible to classify the children according to the risk factor categories suggested by Shriberg's classification system (Shriberg 1994). The relevance of risk factor identification for functional speech disorders is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-131
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Aetiology
  • Phonological disorder
  • Risk factors
  • Speech disorder

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