You are here

Text Version: Nearly 1 in 12 Children Ages 3–17 Has a Disorder Related to Voice, Speech, Language, or Swallowing

[back to infographic]

A communication disorder includes a child's voice that is too weak, hoarse, or strained; how a child speaks; problems making speech sounds or stuttering; or problems with how a child learns and understands words or sentences. A swallowing disorder means that a child has trouble swallowing food or liquids for at least 1 week.

Treatment, such as speech and language therapy, can help these children overcome their communication or swallowing disorders.

  • Nearly 8% of children ages 3–17 has had a communication or swallowing disorder during the past 12 months.
  • Children ages 3–6, boys, and non-Hispanic black children are more likely than other children to have any communication or swallowing disorder.
  • Approximately 55% of children ages 3–17 who had any communication or swallowing disorder received treatment during the past 12 months.
  • Among those with any communication or swallowing disorder, younger children, boys, and non-Hispanic white children were more likely than other children to receive treatment for their disorder.

What percentage of children ages 3–17 years had a communication disorder during the past 12 months?

  • 7.7%—Any communication or swallowing disorder
  • 5.0%—Speech problems
  • 3.3%—Language problems
  • 1.4%—Voice problems
  • 0.9%—Swallowing

Among children with a communication or swallowing disorder during the past 12 months, what proportion had multiple types of these disorders?

  • 1 in 3 children ages 3–10
  • 1 in 4 children ages 11–17

Did the percentage of children ages 3–17 with any communication or swallowing disorder during the past 12 months vary by race/Hispanic origin, sex, or age group?

Race/Hispanic Origin

  • 7.8%—Non-Hispanic white
  • 9.6%—Non-Hispanic black
  • 6.9%—Hispanic

Sex

  • 5.7%—Girls
  • 9.6%—Boys

Age (Years)

  • 11.0%—3–6 year olds
  • 9.3%—7–10 year olds
  • 4.9%—11–17 year olds

Among children ages 3–17 with a communication or swallowing disorder, what percentage received treatment during the past 12 months?

  • 55.2%—Any communication or swallowing disorder
  • 67.6%—Speech problems
  • 66.8%—Language problems
  • 22.8%—Voice problems
  • 12.7%—Swallowing problems

Did the percentage of children ages 3–17 who received treatment during the past 12 months for any communication or swallowing disorder vary by race/Hispanic origin, sex, and age group?

Race/Hispanic origin

  • 60.1%—Non-Hispanic white
  • 45.8%—Non-Hispanic black
  • 47.3%—Hispanic

Sex

  • 47.8%—Girls
  • 59.4%—Boys

Age (years)

  • 59.8%—3–6 year olds
  • 61.3%—7–10 year olds
  • 42.6%—11–17 year olds

Source

  • Black, L. I., Vahratian, A., & Hoffman, H. J. (2015). Communication disorders and use of intervention services among children aged 3–17 years: United States, 2012. NCHS Data Brief, No. 205. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
Last Updated Date: 
June 11, 2015