About communication impairments

The most common communication impairments in children are:

  • problems understanding and using spoken language (words and sentences) to exchange ideas
  • speech disorders – problems making and combining sounds in words so that people can understand
  • stuttering
  • voice problems, such as hoarseness, breathiness, harshness or a voice that is too high/low, too loud/weak, too nasal and so on.

Causes of communication impairments

We don’t know what causes many communication impairments.

Some communication problems might have genetic links.

Communication problems can also be linked to other conditions such as cleft lip and/or palate, lumps on the vocal chords, intellectual disability, brain injury or stroke.

Some other causes include problems affecting the development of the brain such as autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy.

Difficulties making speech sounds can be caused by a hearing impairment. A child with a hearing impairment might:

  • ask you to repeat questions
  • pronounce some sounds wrongly in words
  • have trouble following conversations.

Support and treatment for children with communication impairments

If your child has a communication impairment, you and your child might work with some or all of the following professionals: