At least 30 to 40% of all childhood communication disorders are thought to be genetic in etiology. These range from well–defined entities such as the Treacher Collins and Waardenburg syndromes to such a poorly delineated problem as reading disability. Genetics, in the past, has proved to be a powerful tool in predicting families at risk for having a child with a serious disorder. New techniques in biochemical and cytogenetics are now making feasible the early detection of individuals at high risk for developing certain disorders with the implied potential for prevention or amelioration of the resultant disability through early intervention.
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