Communication disorders: prevalence and comorbid intellectual disability, autism, and emotional/behavioral disorders

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2007 Nov;16(4):359-67. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2007/039).


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology*
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Communication Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence