Prevalence of Speech Sound Disorders among Primary School Children

  • Iqra Aslam Speech Language Pathologist, PAF School for Persons with Special Needs, PAF Base Mushif Sargodha, Pakistan
  • Nazia Mumtaz Head, Department of Speech Language Pathology, Riphah International University Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Ghulam Saqulain Head, Department of Otorhinolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery, Capital Hospital PGMI Islamabad, Pakistan
Keywords: Articulation Disorder, Communication Disorder, Prevalence, Primary School Children, Speech Sound Disorder


Background: Communication Disorders are common and affect individual’s abilities to comprehend, detect and use language and speech, with speech sound disorders (SSD) being the most common communication issue of the youth. SSD is a disorder of development with difficulty in articulation and phonology affecting understanding and intelligibility of speech of a child. It affects the scholarly accomplishment in school as well. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of speech sound disorders among primary school going children.

Material and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study, recruiting a sample of 377 children through probability sampling technique from May 2018 to December 2018. Students of both genders, aged 4 to 8 years, were enrolled from Government Primary Schools of Mandi Bahauddin District, Punjab Pakistan. Students from private and special schools were excluded. Tool for Assessment of Articulation and Phonology in Urdu (TAAPU) was used to collect data, followed by data analysis using SPSS version 20.

Results: Of 377 primary school children, 167(44.3%) were males and 210 (55.7%) were females with a male to female ratio of 1:1.26. Speech Sound Disorder was detected in 5 (1.3%) children, 4 males and only 1 female. Of these 5 cases with SSD, 3 (60%) males suffered from substitution and 1(20%) from omission, while 1 (20%) female child suffered from substitution disorder.

Conclusion: The prevalence of Speech Sound Disorders in primary school children is very low being 1.3%, with significantly higher prevalence in males aged 61-72 months. “Substitution” of sounds is more common compared to “omission”.

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