aphasia in children who don't speak yet

Jeffrey Torp jnt at expert.cc.purdue.edu
Sun Mar 26 10:42:03 EST 2000


"jay" <jaceklk at hotmail.com> writes:


>Hi,

>I am searching for some information on the web or otherwise which would
>explain how one go about finding out if a child (who does not speak yet or
>even who don't understand language yet) has aphasia.

I would suggest going to the American Speech and Hearing Association's
website: www.asha.org.  Probably a good start for your search.  

>I am not an expert. When I search with altavista many web pages, I
>encountered a lot of confusion about the terms  and very unclear
>definitions.I wanted first establish what is aphasia and then answer my main
>question: how one recognize aphasia in children who do not speak yet.

There are scads of standardized tests designed to identify and describe
expressive and receptive language difficulties in children.  If you are 
interested I can supply you with names of such tests. 

>First off, there is confusion about what is the difference between aphasia
>and dysphasia. (Some say dysphasia is a mild form of aphasia, some others, a
>severe aphasia, yet others, that the terms are interchangeable.) Then if I
>want to focus on children I found out that there are 2 common phrases which
>I think I should pursue: "congenital aphasia" and "developmental aphasia",
>since small children can both have aphasia from birth (genetically?) or
>acquire throughout their (short) life by injury or otherwise (tumors,
>infections,etc) (is that right?).


Yes, those are the definitions of congenital and developmental.  Don't get
hung up on the term APHASIA. The term aphasia is more typically used to 
describe the language difficulties of adults following brain injury (stroke
etc...).  There are a variety of aphasias (Broca's, Wernicke's, transcortical
and so on) that are named after site of lesion and the typical impairment
profile following the injury.  In children it is more likely to not use
aphasia terminology and simply describe the language impairment in more 
functional terms.
     
>And also, what is the best word which generalized aphasia/dysphasia?:
>pathology, disorder, anomaly, dysfunction, disability, inability,
>impairment?!

>From what I read I think aphasia is a "wrong wiring in the brain" which is
>related to speech/symbolic processing, which includes: input processing
>(e.g. hearing), main processing (e.g. extracting meaning), output processing
>(e.g. constructing words and sentence thoughts). By "wrong wiring" I mean
>that that part of brain is not behaving the same way as in "normal" brain
>for whatever reason.

>I think that I could generalized it like this.  A mental disorder is "some
>wrong wiring in a brain". And aphasia is a specific type of mental disorder
>which is related to the language processing as described in the previous
>paragraph.

>And I think I see also that one should distinguish between aphasia and other
>speech disorders like dysarthria and apraxia which have to do with
>coordination of speech. So they are not directly involved in
>symbolic/language processing. Right?

Yes, that is exactly right- speech is differentiated from language.  
>Would somebody help?

>jay



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