Acquired Verbal Aphasia
in a 7-Year-Old Female:
Case Report

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics 1998 (Apr);   1 (2)

Jack D. Manuele, D.C., D.I.C.C.P. and Peter N Fysh, D.C., F.I.C.C.P.

Objective:   To discuss the case of a 7-year-old female patient with a vocabulary of three words, presenting for chiropractic evaluation.

Clinical Features:   By history, this child apparently had developed normally for about the first 18 months of her life. Language development had followed the normal patterns and by this age she was using small strings of words and communicating appropriately for her age. At about 18 months of age, however, her parents noticed that her verbal communication ceased. The childs sudden failure to communicate using the spoken word caused her parents to seek professional help. She was examined by a pediatrician who referred her to an audiologist for hearing assessment, to a psychologist and to a speech-language pathologist. Despite careful evaluation and assessment by these multi-disciplinary specialists, no definitive cause could be identified.

Intervention and Outcome:   At the age of seven years, she underwent chiropractic evaluation. Following a seven week course of spinal and cranial adjustments, she was able to communicate successfully using a vocabulary of more than 60 words. Several years after chiropractic care was initiated, she continues to sustain and make these improvements in her speech.

Conclusion:   A case report is presented of a seven-year-old female patient with acquired verbal aphasia. Despite appropriate referral to specialists in pediatrics, audiology and speech and language pathology, the patients verbal difficulties failed to respond to conventional therapies. Chiropractic evaluation disclosed disclosed biomechanical abnormalities in the spinal and pelvic region and cranium, which had previously gone unrecognized. The patient's speech difficulties improved following the commencement of chiropractic care. Follow-up evaluations over a period of 18 months demonstrated that speech improvements had been maintained. It is impossible to generalize the results of a single case to the population of patients with aphasia. Hoewver, this case study raises important issues regarding the role of chiropractic care in the multidisciplinary management of patients with acquired aphasia.


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