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Verbal Ability and Language Outcome Following Traumatic Brain Injury in Early Childhood

Crowe, Louise M. PhD; Anderson, Vicki PhD; Barton, Sarah DPsych; Babl, Franz E. MD, MPH, FRACP, FAAP, FACEP; Catroppa, Cathy PhD

Section Editor(s): Caplan, Bruce PhD, ABPP; Bogner, Jennifer PhD, ABPP

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e31829babfd
Original Articles
Abstract

Objective: To investigate language outcomes of TBI in preschool-aged children. Competent early language skills are pivotal for the future development of literacy skills. While previous research has reported that traumatic brain injury (TBI) places children at risk of language impairments, the majority of these studies have been conducted with school-aged children.

Setting: Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: Children aged 4 to 6 years who had sustained a mild (N = 19) or moderate/severe (N = 16) TBI prior to 3 years of age and a control group (N = 20) of typically developing children matched for age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Main Measures: The Wechsler Preschool and Primary School Scale of Intelligence, Third Edition, measured Verbal IQ. The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals—Preschool version and the Bus Story Test measured language skills.

Results: More severely injured children displayed greater impairments in verbal intellectual abilities and language skills compared with children with mild TBI and uninjured children. Children with mild TBI performed similarly to children in the control group.

Conclusion: Language appears vulnerable to TBI and should be investigated as a matter of course in clinical assessments of TBI recovery.

Author Information

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (Drs Crowe, Anderson, Babl Barton, and Catroppa), University of Melbourne (Drs Crowe, Anderson, Babl and Catroppa), and Royal Children's Hospital (Drs Anderson and Babl), Melbourne, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Louise Crowe, PhD, Australian Centre for Child Neuropsychology Studies, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia (louise.crowe@mcri.edu.au).

This work was supported by a grant from the Foundation for Children and by the Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins