Better diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment for children with speech and language disorder.

Speech and language skills form the foundation for later educational and academic achievement. These skills are also critical for social and mental health development. The Speech and Language group at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute is interested in how speech, language, and literacy develop, and how disorders occur in each of these areas.

The group examines genetic, neural, and social-environmental predictors of speech, language, and literacy development. The team’s overarching aim is to develop intervention strategies based on research evidence so children with speech and language difficulties reach their full potential. Our work involves the identification of genes associated with severe childhood speech disorders such as apraxia of speech and dysarthria. We also conduct speech and language characterisation (phenotyping) studies in rare genetic conditions to provide better diagnostic, prognostic, and management data for affected families and clinicians working in the area. We also conduct studies of speech and language development in the general population and we are working on a novel digital tool for the assessment of speech disorder.

Our collaborations with leading national and international researchers, genetic advocacy groups, and clinicians enable us to conduct and disseminate with global impact. Our work provides better insights into how speech and language develop, what goes wrong and why it matters to those most affected.

Professor Angela Morgan: Speech disorders in children

Did you know one in five Australian children start school with a speech or language disorder? MCRI researchers have found that in some children this may have a genetic course.

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