Abstract

Tavano, A., Galbiati, S., Recla, M., Formica, F., Giordano, F., Genitori, L., & Strazzer, S. (2009). Language and cognition in a bilingual child after traumatic brain injury in infancy: long-term plasticity and vulnerability. Brain Injury, 23(2), 167-171.

Language and cognition in a bilingual child after traumatic brain injury in infancy: long-term plasticity and vulnerability

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: This study aimed at investigating the long-term effects of the combination of severity of injury and time of injury in a 6-year-old bilingual Arabic-Italian child who sustained a severe left traumatic brain injury at the age of 7 months. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Standard neurological, cognitive and neuropsychological assessments were administered at 40 days after surgery and again at 18, 31, 62 and 73 months. MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: The child presented with developmental arrest at 18 and 31 months. Later on, right hemiparetic and oculomotor signs gradually improved to a significant extent, as well as dysexecutive, visuospatial and praxic deficits. At present, persistent language disorders in a fluent speech characterize the child's profile to a similar extent and type in both languages, suggesting common underlying learning strategies which are ineffective for procedurally acquiring language. CONCLUSIONS: This case confirms that children who sustain severe left hemisphere traumatic brain injury in infancy present with increased vulnerability to linguistic deficits. Left frontotemporal, cortical-subcortical lesions which occur during very early language development may permanently disrupt the procedural language acquisition network required for first language acquisition.



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