Term Paper, 2007, 11 Pages
Acquired Childhood Aphasia with Focus on Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
“Aphasia is the neurological term for any language disorder that results from brain damage caused by disease or trauma.” 1 The disorder is not exclusively found in adults, but may also occur in children. To lose the ability to understand and produce language may be a major catastrophe for children and has enormous consequences for their whole life, even if speech is regained after some time. 2 Therefore, it is astonishing how little is known about the subject and how controversially it is discussed in literature. This paper introduces into acquired childhood aphasia with focus on a syndrome called Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, in which aphasia and epilepsy are combined. Landau-Kleffner Syndrome will be discussed in regard to symptoms, aetiology, therapy and prognosis. Moreover, it will be compared to other forms of acquired childhood aphasia.
Speech disorders in children can be subdivided into two groups: developmental language disorders (for example stuttering) and aphasia. The former occur prior to language emergence and may have many different causes. The latter can be subdivided into congenital aphasia and acquired aphasia. Congenital aphasia is caused prenatal or perinatal whereas acquired aphasia always occurs postnatal. 3 The focus of this paper will be on acquired aphasia in childhood. It is defined as the “deterioration in language performance as a result of cerebral affections.” 4 Thus, acquired aphasia is the reduction or loss of language functions that have been acquired before. Therefore, language acquisition has to be (at least partially) completed. The linguistic symptoms can include all parts of language (that is phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax and lexicon). Both receptive and productive language skills can be affected and the child may not only have problems with spontaneous speech, but also with alphabetisating and repeating words and sentences. The constitution and severity of the different symptoms vary and depend on individual factors
1 Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman, and Nina Hyams, An Introduction to Language, 7 th ed. (Boston: Thomson Heile, 2003) 37.
2 Neil Gordon, “Acquired Aphasia in Childhood: the Landau-Kleffner Syndrome,” Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 32 (1990): 270.
3 Katharina Rupp, „Die erworbene Aphasie im Kindesalter: Eine katamnestische Untersuchung,“ MS thesis, Universität Bielefeld, 2006, 39-40, 20 July 2007 <http://www.aphasiker-kinder.de/plone/navigations/dpttree.2005-03-03.4975088807/dpttreeitem.2005-03-03.6533924892/dpttreeitem.2005-03-04.4534070440/dpt_html_view>.
4 Macdonald, Critchley, Aphasiology and Other Aspects of Language (London: Arnold, 1970) 278.
Term Paper, 22 Pages
Term Paper, 22 Pages
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