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Communication disorders among Syrian refugee children in Beqaa, Lebanon

Alia Salam (College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Russell K. McIntire (College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Lucille B. Pilling (College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 20 August 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the severity of certain communication disorders (CD) in a sample of Syrian refugee children. There are a limited number of studies about CD among refugee children.

Design/methodology/approach

Over a period of 22 months, 161 cases of CD – not caused by motor or structural disorders – were seen at a Mental Health Clinic in Beqaa, Lebanon. The authors calculated descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages) and bivariate statistics to identify relationships between CD, demographics and school enrollment among cases.

Findings

Ages ranged between 3 and 16 years with a mean of 6.91. Male to female ratio was 1.6:1. The most prevalent category of CD was speech, followed by expressive language, then receptive language. Parents reported behavioral or emotional problems in 38 percent of the cases; emotional problems, mainly anxiety, were much more common than behavioral problems. Enrollment in school was associated with a lower number of impairments and less severe speech and language impairments.

Originality/value

The results highlight the importance of early detection and intervention among Syrian refugee children. Schools can alleviate some psychological issues that compound CD by enhancing resilient behaviors and providing social support. They can also implement measures for detection and intervention.

Keywords

Citation

Salam, A., McIntire, R.K. and Pilling, L.B. (2019), "Communication disorders among Syrian refugee children in Beqaa, Lebanon", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 214-225. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-09-2018-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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