Dramatic Increase in Speech Problems in Children Over Past Decade
A new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics reported a 63% increase in disability associated with speech problems from 2001-02 to 2010-11 among U.S. children, along with a more than 15% increase in disability associated with hearing problems. The data underscore the importance of early intervention for rising numbers of children who are experiencing communication disorders, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
On a broader level, the new study, Changing Trends of Childhood Disability, 2001-2011, showed that the percentage of children with disabilities rose 16% between 2001 and 2011. While childhood disability due to physical conditions has declined, a significant increase in disabilities due to neurodevelopmental or mental health problems was reported. Children in poverty experienced the highest rates of disability, but children from wealthier families experienced the largest increase (28%). The data was based on parent reports of disability, gathered from the government-conducted National Health Interview Survey.
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