Objectives. Children with the speech sound disorder (SSD) had impairment in comprehensibility and SSD lead to significant problems in academic and social life especially with psychiatric comorbidities. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of comorbid psychiatric disorders on global functioning in children with SSD.
Methods. Children aged 416 years (n=301) who had incorrectly expressed phonemes as chief complaint were recruited retrospectively. Speech sound errors were evaluated with Speech Sound Development Test (SSDT), Clinical Global Impressions-Severity Scale (CGI-S) and psychiatric comorbidities were also evaluated according to DSM-5. Multiple linear regressions were performed to clarify the association between global functioning and speech sound errors, socio-demographic characteristics, and psychiatric comorbidities.
Results. Of the 301 participants 218 (72.4%) were female and the mean age was 75.49 ± 22.88 months. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (25.6%), intellectual disability (ID) (23.6%), Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) (8.3%) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) (3%) were identified as the most common comorbid psychiatric disorders in SSD. Multiple linear regression models confirmed that increased total number of incorrectly expressed phonemes, increased age, and low IQ values were associated with global functioning issues. In the adjusted model, only ID had a significant effect on global functioning.
Conclusions. Global functioning in SSD is affected by psychiatric comorbidities and especially by ID. It follows that psychiatric and cognitive assessment is important in the comprehensive evaluation of functioning in children diagnosed with SSD, for providing necessary therapies and educational guidance to enhance global functioning.
Key words: speech sound disorder (SSD), psychiatric comorbidities, global functioning, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), intellectual disability (ID)