The costs of preschool communication problems

Jemma Skeat, Lisa Gold, Melissa Wake, Obioha C Ukoumunne and Sheena Reilly
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.10254
Published online: 19 September 2011

To the Editor: Childhood communication disorders (CCD) affect up to 20% of 4-year-old children.1 Early intervention is important2 and a variety of health and education professionals may provide assistance, including speech pathologists (SPs), paediatricians, general practitioners and others. The type and amount of help provided to preschool-aged children in Australia is unknown, nor are the costs empirically described. Using data from the Early Language in Victoria Study (ELVS),1,3 a prospective study of a large Australian cohort of children, we describe the use of services for CCD, out-of-pocket costs to families and costs to the health system.

  • Jemma Skeat1
  • Lisa Gold2
  • Melissa Wake1
  • Obioha C Ukoumunne3
  • Sheena Reilly1

  • 1 Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Population Health Strategic Research Council, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.



Research at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) is supported by the Victorian Government Operational Infrastructure Support Program. Our study is supported by project grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and small grants from MCRI and La Trobe University. NHMRC grants support Jemma Skeat (Population Health Capacity Building Grant), Melissa Wake (Population Health Career Development Grants) and Sheena Reilly (Practitioner Research Fellowship).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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