Purpose: To determine a population-based estimate of communication disorders (CDs) in children; the co-occurrence of intellectual disability (ID), autism, and emotional/behavioral disorders; and the impact of these conditions on the prevalence of CDs.
Method: Surveillance targeted 8-year-olds born in 1994 residing in 2002 in the 3 most populous counties in Utah (n = 26,315). A multiple-source record review was conducted at all major health and educational facilities.
Results: A total of 1,667 children met the criteria of CD. The prevalence of CD was estimated to be 63.4 per 1,000 8-year-olds (95% confidence interval = 60.4-66.2). The ratio of boys to girls was 1.8:1. Four percent of the CD cases were identified with an ID and 3.7% with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Adjusting the CD prevalence to exclude ASD and/or ID cases significantly affected the CD prevalence rate. Other frequently co-occurring emotional/behavioral disorders with CD were attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and conduct disorder.
Conclusions: Findings affirm that CDs and co-occurring mental health conditions are a major educational and public health concern.