What Causes Speech and Language Impairment in Children?


According to an article in NCBI, previously it was believed that speech and language impairment (SLI) is caused by poor parenting, temporary hearing loss, and brain damage. But later it became clear that these causes play a lesser role in speech-language impairment. Through the understanding of the human brain, it is found that genetic makeup builds a strong influence in finding out which kid will have speech and language disorder.

Some studies also said SLP run in families as family members share not only genes but also surrounding environment. Apart from these, generally people want to know the factor that causes speech and language impairment in children.

What causes Speech and Language Impairment in children?

Oral impairment 

 According to Individual with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA), Communication disorders like articulation, voice, language impairment affects kids social and academic performances. In impaired articulation, a child has difficulty in pronouncing certain sounds. Difficulty understanding and expressing words correctly causes language impairment. A child has voice impairment when he or she has a problem with voicing words.

Communication disorder such as stammering also causes a child to stammer or stutter continuously. Stammering cause differs from one to another in the same the same way stuttering affects each individual differently. It is a combination of various factors including neurological, environmental, hereditary and psychological. Consulting a speech-language pathologist assures complete help for stammering.

Vocal cord damage or brain damage 

A speech therapist looks at your kid’s vocal folds through a tube, and this procedure is known as endoscopy. According to ASHA(American Speech-language Hearing Association), Some brain injury causes speech and language problems. In brain injury, person muscles become weak or called dysarthria. Some people have apraxia, difficulty in controlling muscles. For such phonological disorder, the procedure of releasing and producing sounds through the vibration of the vocal folds.

Most of the kids have difficulty in certain words or sounds like they say “boo” to “blue. Many people have confusion between phonological and articulation disorder. Therefore, it is essential to know the difference between the two disorders so that the child gets the correct phonation therapy.


Autistic kids often report the problem in speech and language development. According to NIH(National Institute of Health), Children with autistic spectrum disorder have difficulty in communicating verbally and non-verbally such as eye contact, facial expressions, and hand gestures. There are different kinds of speech therapies for autistic kids like Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Sensory integration therapy, physical treatment and Word related therapy.

Speech therapy helps autistic kids in developing the ability to express their needs. Autistic children through speech therapy not only learn to communicate but also starts understanding what other people say to them.

Hearing impairment

Most of the time parents overlook hearing impairment in their children that causes speech and language impairment in children. Therefore, a hearing test is essential in case of speech and language difficulty. 

Genes and heredity 

According to research, around 40 percent of infants have a parental history of speech and language disorder in comparison to around 4 percent who do not have to have a parental history of speech and language impairment.

There are other causes also like Down syndrome, a premature birth which results in speech and language impairment.

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