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Biological Bases of Specific Language Impairment (Developmental Aphasia)

  • Dorothy Bishop

Abstract

When a child is brought to a pediatrician because language is not developing normally, there are several investigations that are typically carried out. The child’s hearing is tested, and cognitive and social development are assessed. The medical history is scrutinized to see if there is any evidence of neurological disease or trauma early in life, and the child is examined for neurological signs and abnormalities of the speech apparatus. The parents are interviewed about the family circumstances. Although in many cases one might find some explanation for the child’s language disorder in the course of these investigations, all too often this is not the case. The child appears to be physically normal with adequate hearing, good nonverbal ability and normal social relationships, and the medical history and home background are unremarkable. Traditionally the terms “developmental aphasia” or “developmental dysphasia” have been used to describe cases of abnormal language development of unknown origin. However, this terminology is not entirely satisfactory. Use of a neurological label implies similarities with adult acquired dysphasia, but this is usually misleading since, as we shall see, there is seldom any indication of brain damage in these children. Furthermore, the label suggests a clear-cut syndrome, whereas in fact a wide range of problems is included in this definition. For these reasons, more neutral terms such as “specific developmental language disorder” or “specific language impairment” are frequently preferred (Bishop and Rosenbloom, 1987).

Keywords

Otitis Medium Specific Language Impairment Developmental Dyslexia Language Disorder Developmental Medicine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Bishop

There are no affiliations available

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