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Title: Acquired childhood aphasia : historical and theoretical perspectives
Author: Hellal, Paula Joanne.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3552 323X
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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The traditional concept of Acquired Childhood Aphasia (AeA) has been derived from a limited number of late 19th century cases. The concept can be summarised as: a) Language comprehension is preserved relative to expression. b) Recovery is swift and complete. c) ACA is found after right as well as left cerebral lesions. This traditional concept has been contested by late 20th century reports of sensory aphasia, auditory comprehension deficits and poor prognosis in childhood. It now seems less certain that the clinical description of ACA is as homogeneous as first thought. Reconsideration of the early modern period of neuroscientific research typically considers work carried out on the Continent. This study critically examines clinical research carried out in England to determine whether the traditional concept of ACA is accurately reflected in 19th century British medical opinion. The study reviews cases of AeA drawn from the archives of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) covering the period 1860-1900. These cases illustrate the characterisation of language difficulties in various modalities and reflect assumptions regarding development and organisation of mental faculties. They also reveal information about which variables were considered significant. The etiology and prognosis of these ACA cases together with possible variables such as the child's age and gender are discussed in the light of contemporaneous medical opinion. Comparison of archived casenotes with cases published in English medical journals reveals biases in the evidence selected to serve as the basis for the standard view of presentation, recovery and pathology of ACA. The study concludes that, from the English language literature, there is little evidence to support the traditional concept of AeA. Cases of aphasic children presenting with adult-like long term language impairment (including comprehension deficits) appear both in the archived and published papers from this period, while few cases of ACA following right cerebral lesions are to be found.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available