Evaluation of the language profile in children with rolandic epilepsy and developmental dysphasia: Evidence for distinct strengths and weaknesses

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Although benign, rolandic epilepsy (RE) or benign childhood epilepsy with centro-temporal spikes is often associated with language impairment. Recently, fronto-rolandic EEG abnormalities have been described in children with developmental dysphasia (DD), suggesting an interaction between language impairment and interictal epileptiform discharges. To investigate if a behavioral-linguistic continuum between RE and DD exists, a clinical prospective study was carried out to evaluate the language profile of 15 children with RE and 22 children with DD. Language skills were assessed using an extensive, standardized test battery. Language was found to be impaired in both study groups, however RE and DD were associated with distinct language impairment profiles. Children with RE had difficulties with sentence comprehension, semantic verbal fluency and auditory short-term memory, which are unrelated to age of epilepsy onset and laterality of epileptic focus. In children with DD, sentence comprehension and verbal fluency were among their relative strengths, whereas sentence and lexical production constituted relative weaknesses.

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