In terms of awkward sentences written by students, what I'm seeing is an avoidance of modified nouns as subjects. Instead, the would-be modified-noun subject is "factored out" of the sentence into a modifier, and then replaced by "it":in the predicate: an autistic children’s inability to infer a communicator’s intentions
In Happe’s article it is said that this deficit is due to an autistic children’s inability to infer a communicator’s intentions.
[As opposed to Happe's article says that... Notice, btw, that the final noun phrase, the object of "due to", is heavily modified]
By discovering which parts of communication are more challenging to develop, it can help speech researchers discover where people with other language and communication challenges stumble as well.
[Instead of: Discovering which parts of communication are more challenging can help...]
Actually, only the first example ("Happe's article") is a modified noun; the second one is a sentential subject ("Discovering which parts of communication are more challenging"). So more precisely what I'm seeing is an avoidance of any syntactically complex element in subject position.
Perhaps this goes for speech as well?
in the subject: it