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Broca's aphasia in child?

Peter Vollrath pvollrat at icogsci1.ucsd.edu
Mon Jan 1 23:25:08 EST 1996

My neighbor has been taking her child to speech therapists for a year or 
two (some minor progress). I have spoken with the child and she seems to 
exhibit classic Broca's symptoms, agrammatical speech, tendency to 
overuse gerunds, spontaneous speech production errors, complete absence 
of use of articles, and when listening illustrates expressions of 
non-comprehension sometimes.

The child suffered several ear infections at age 2 and had been deaf, 
using sign language until some recent corrective surgery restored the use of 
one ear; she also has some sort of heart valve flutter.

What the mother wants to know is:

The child is ready to enter 1st grade; what sort of educational 
environment is going to help?  

I can't help but think that the ear infections occuring during critical 
period may have caused malformed phonemes (as well as the possibility of 
left frontal anterior ischemia being a result of her heart problem, 
hence the Broca symptoms).  If the ischemia is true, she will likely never 
really grasp grammars, correct?  The fact that she is female is in her 
favor (I have read evidence of decreased lateralization of language in 
females), but if the damage is done, it is irreparable, right?

Any suggestions?  I was thinking of education specializing in arts and 
music.  There has been improvement with the therapists over the last 
year, but I have noticed it only in pronunciation.  The language 
generation is still very aggrammatical.


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