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Children with Verbal Auditory Agnosia. Pure Word Deafness. What is Verbal Auditory Agnosia?. Verbal auditory agnosia which is also called pure word deafness, is an acquired communication disorder where an individual is unable to comprehend spoken language, or repeat words. However, such

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what is verbal auditory agnosia
What is Verbal Auditory Agnosia?

Verbal auditory agnosia which is also called pure word

deafness, is an acquired communication disorder where

an individual is unable to comprehend spoken

language, or repeat words. However, such

individuals exhibit normal hearing and have

spontaneous speech. This disorder is unlike

aphasia because reading and writing capabilities are

not affected. In some cases, individuals are not able to

comprehend nonverbal sounds as well.

(Heron, Macfarlane, and Papathanasiou, 1998)

what causes verbal auditory agnosia
What causes Verbal Auditory Agnosia?
  • Verbal auditory agnosia is caused by damage to the left temporal lobe where the auditory processing of speech occurs.
  • Damage can be due to a stroke (in adults), traumatic brain injury, or epileptic seizures in children. The onset of this type of seizure occurs between three and seven years of age after a period of normal cognitive and language development.

(Van Slyke, 2002) & (Heron et al., 1998)

how verbal auditory agnosia affects communication
~The child is unresponsive to speech so they appear to be deaf. To the

child, speech is perceived as if someone was literally saying (“blah blah blah”)

~This deficit impairs speech and language from being processed. This in turn

impairs learning because the child can not discriminate speech sounds. This can

also create difficulty for the child to express his or her wants and needs.

~Difficulty processing language causes the child to have problems with word

finding as well.

How Verbal Auditory Agnosia Affects Communication

(Heron et al., 1998) & (Chapman et al.,1998)

how verbal auditory agnosia affects communication cont
How Verbal Auditory Agnosia Affects Communication (cont.)

~ Some children have an echoing effect in their perception of speech. This interferes with the further speech that follows. The echo can occur in the form of speech, sounds, words, or whole sentences. The echo can last as long as 10 minutes.

~ Some children may have “a high-pitch voice with abnormal inflection similar to that of children who are deaf ”(Chapman, McCathren, & Stomont, 1998, p. 40).

~Articulation problems can also form

age of onset
Age of Onset
  • The critical time period for development of speech and language is from one to eight years of age.
  • If the child develops verbal auditory agnosia between the ages of one and eight than speech and language are at risk for not developing properly.
  • The age of onset is important because it determines both the severity and the long-term outcome.
  • The earlier the onset the more severe the impairments of speech and language will be. In severe forms the child can become mute.
  • The age when the child develops this disorder is critical for determining the degree of language that is lost. The later the onset the greater the outcome for speech to be restored.

(Chapman et al., 1998) &(Van Slyke, 2002)

role of a speech language pathologist
Role of a Speech-Language Pathologist
  • A child’s education is dependent on the language recovery, which is one reason why speech and language therapy is critical.
  • A speech-language pathologist will help the child acquire an effective way to communicate, which is usually through the use of visual forms of language. This would include a combination of augmenting speech with:

~ sign language ~ facial expressions

~ reading ~ pictures

~ writing ~ sound discrimination

  • Training the auditory system will enhance and improve receptive and

expressive forms of language.

(Braem, Metz-Lutz, Morel, Perez, Prelaz, & Rickli, 2001)

(Chapman et al. 1998)

  • Braem, P.B., Metz-Lutz, M., Morel, B., Perez, E. R., Prelaz, A. et al. (2001). Sign language in childhood epileptic aphasia (Landau-Kleffner syndrome). Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 43, 739-744. Retrieved February 20, 2005, from PsycINFO database.
  • Chapman, T., McCathren, K., & Stomont, M. (2001). What every educator should know about Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 13, 39-44. Retrieved February 19, 2005, from ERIC database.
  • Heron, C., Macfarlane, S., & Papathansiou, I. (1998). International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 33, 214-217. Retrieved February 13, 2005, from Academic Search Premier database.
  • Van Slyke, P. A. (2002). Classroom instruction for children with Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Child Language Teaching & Therapy, 18, 23. Retrieved February 19, 2005 from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.