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Genetics of Speech Disorders Study

Research project

Studying how genes may be involved in speech disorders in adults and children


The Centre of Research Excellence in Speech and Language is an international collaboration of experts in the fields of speech pathology, neurology, neuroscience and genetics. Our CRE is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying childhood speech disorders to develop novel targeted therapies. 

Researchers at The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute are studying the genetic causes of speech disorders. They are looking for children and adults who have speech sound disorder such as childhood apraxia of speech or severe phonological disorder.

Our team have identified that, in many cases, severe speech disorder seems to simply arise in a child in a family, without any prior history of speech difficulties from the parents. In other cases, there is a strong history of speech difficulties from one or both sides of the family.

At present, we have found we can identify a single gene causative for childhood apraxia of speech in around 1 in 3 children. Learning more about the genetic basis of speech disorders will help us more easily identify which children may be at risk of speech disorder, and will allow us to develop more targeted treatments.