Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 499-510

First online:

Factors associated with the development of psychiatric illness in children with early speech/language problems

  • Lorian BakerAffiliated withUCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute
  • , Dennis P. CantwellAffiliated withUCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute

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This paper reports on the correlates of psychiatric illness in children with speech and language disorders. Of 600 children selected from a community speech clinic, 50% were found to have diagnosable psychiatric disorders according to DSM-III criteria. These “psychiatrically ill” children were compared to the “psychiatrically well” children in the sample on a variety of developmental, socioeconomic, medical, and psychosocial factors. Although some differences were found between the well and ill children in other factors, the majority of the differences, and the most highly significant differences, were found in areas of linguistic functioning. It is hypothesized that this finding may be relevant not only to understanding the association between linguistic and psychiatric functioning but also to predicting the outcome and planning treatment for childhood speech and language disorders.