Language Differences in Young Children with Myelomeningocele and Shunted Hydrocephalus

Vachha, Behroze; Adams, Richard
October 2003
Pediatric Neurosurgery;Oct2003, Vol. 39 Issue 4, p184
Academic Journal
Objective: This comparative cohort study examined language differences in young children (preschool to first grade) with myelomeningocele and shunted hydrocephalus (MM/SH). Method: A well-validated, standardized language test was administered to 17 children with MM/SH (age range 4–6 years) and 16 age-matched, nonaffected children. Results: Standard scores were obtained within lexical/semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic domains. An analysis of performance on individual subtests within the lexical/semantic domain was striking. Children with MM/SH performed significantly worse (p < 0.01) on a test measuring the comprehension of words representing important early learning concepts and on pragmatic tasks that measured their ability to use language functionally in social situations. Conclusions: Words representing basic precepts and concepts are commonly used in instructions to children in early childhood. Difficulty with functional pragmatic language results in suboptimal communication skills. Academic and community implications are discussed.Copyright © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel


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