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Monogenic and chromosomal causes of isolated speech and language impairment
  1. C P Barnett1,
  2. B W M van Bon1,2
  1. 1Paediatric & Reproductive Genetics, SA Clinical Genetics Service, Women's and Children's Hospital/SA Pathology, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. 2Department of Human Genetics, Radboud Institute for molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr B W M van Bon, Department of Human Genetics, Radboud Institute for molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Bregje.vanbon{at}


The importance of a precise molecular diagnosis for children with intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy has become widely accepted and genetic testing is an integral part of the diagnostic evaluation of these children. In contrast, children with an isolated speech or language disorder are not often genetically evaluated, despite recent evidence supporting a role for genetic factors in the aetiology of these disorders. Several chromosomal copy number variants and single gene disorders associated with abnormalities of speech and language have been identified. Individuals without a precise genetic diagnosis will not receive optimal management including interventions such as early testosterone replacement in Klinefelter syndrome, otorhinolaryngological and audiometric evaluation in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, cardiovascular surveillance in 7q11.23 duplications and early dietary management to prevent obesity in proximal 16p11.2 deletions. This review summarises the clinical features, aetiology and management options of known chromosomal and single gene disorders that are associated with speech and language pathology in the setting of normal or only mildly impaired cognitive function.

  • Speech and language
  • chromosome
  • FOXP2
  • SETBP1
  • trisomies

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