Many children who present with these acquired impairments of communication have a clear preceding event such as an acquired brain injury from a road traffic accident. Children often respond differently in this situation to adult presentations. They may have a period of mutism when the prognosis might look poor and yet they subsequently make rapid progress and recover speech. They have greater potential for neural plasticity and language recovery, although they often have persisting difficulties in oral and written language. Alternatively, there may be a presentation with a paroxysmal event such as a seizure or a period of depressed consciousness, and the unusual behaviour that may accompany dysphasia and dysarthria may be misinterpreted in the child, whereas for the adult with the more common ‘stroke-like’ presentation, it would be immediately considered. Rarely the aphasia/dysphasia may itself be the paroxysmal event where actually recognising that the child's disrupted communication is the basis of any observed behaviours can be the greater challenge.
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