Aphasia in children is a condition in which their communicative development is abnormally low for their age. It is very commonly confused with other conditions, such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and so on.
However, a thorough check-up of symptoms by a professional can differentiate aphasia from other diseases.
Types and Clinical Picture of Aphasia in Children
Children with this type of aphasia understand auditory language. They are totally able to receive and execute directions according to their age.
However, they have little or no capacity to replicate sounds and cannot produce vocational language. This can also create difficulty in acquiring writing skills. This type of aphasia often stems from brain trauma.
It is very common for these children to communicate with their parents or other adults through signs and gestures. Likewise, they may present an inhibition to speak, confused with shyness or selective mutism. This can come from previous experiences of frustration when trying to speak.
They can imitate sounds. However, this is limited because their disability (unlike aphasia in expressive children) is that, although they can hear and understand written language, children with receptive aphasia lack or have poor ability to understand what they read or hear.
In this form of aphasia, words can be understood, as well as how to execute spoken sentences. However, kids with this kind of aphasia have extreme difficulty in finding the right words to communicate correctly. They also show notable inconsistencies when forming words and sentences.
They have a quite limited catalog of words, as well as misuse of words and incorrect semantic construction. This means they produce language that can range from understandable to completely incoherent.
Global aphasia is the most serious type of aphasia. It is an acute form of this condition that affects all communication and comprehension abilities.
Children with global aphasia don’t have the skills to understand auditory or written language, nor can they perform vocal language. They can produce sounds, but they have no ability to imitate the articulation of words.
Causes of Aphasia in Children
Aphasia is caused by brain damage to the area that processes language. The causes can be varied, from cerebral contusions, to diseases such as cerebral parasitosis, brain tumors, meningitis, epilepsy, etc.
When it is impossible to determine a clear cause of aphasia, it is called dysphasia.
How is Aphasia Treated in Children?
Some aphasias can be temporary and resolve without the need for treatment. For persistent aphasia and more acute symptoms, treatment is carried out through a rehabilitation approach to language skills, taking advantage of the natural neuroplasticity of the brain.
Cognitive rehabilitation, more specifically with identifying and executing language, is carried out through training based on telling the difference between sounds. It also uses gesture discrimination exercises, sound-making training, and oral-facial training.
In final phases of rehabilitation, activities are more clearly educational. They use drawings and text that train semantics and language syntax skills.
Importance of Prompt Attention to Aphasia in Children
It is important to go to the doctor immediately when you suspect aphasia. While it may be temporary, if it doesn’t go away it could generate problems with understanding and communication that are difficult to treat. It could even become chronic.
The faster aphasia is treated in children, the faster and more effective the recovery will be through the rehabilitation of language skills.
It should be noted that the treatment of aphasia in children is purely a restoration of psycholinguistic skills. Simply put, it doesn’t depend on drugs of any kind. Its evolution is good as long as it is done as early as possible.