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The 'idioglossia' cases of the 1890s and the clinical investigation and treatment of developmental language impairment

Lorch, Marjorie P. and Hellal, Paula (2012) The 'idioglossia' cases of the 1890s and the clinical investigation and treatment of developmental language impairment. Cortex 48 (8), pp. 1052-1060. ISSN 0010-9452.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2011.07.007

Abstract

The early history of developmental language impairment in late 19th century Britain is considered through the critical examination of three papers appearing in 1891 by Hadden, Golding-Bird and Hale White, and Taylor. They represent innovative investigations of child language disorders whose themes and concerns are resonant today. The term ‘idioglossia’ was coined to identify this new impairment and reflected the belief by some that these children spoke an invented language. Rather than viewing these children as having some constitutional deficiency, these 19th century physicians were novel in insisting that children with language impairments merited extensive clinical investigation and treatment. Their case descriptions and the subsequent debates regarding classification and prognosis are reviewed. Further consideration is given to how these cases led to questioning the relation between language and speech and other aspects of child development and disorder. Reflection on the early sources of clinical categories provides a new perspective on our current formulations for variation in developmental language trajectories.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): idioglossia, specific language impairment, developmental language disorders, child language acquisition, 19th century
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
Depositing User: Sarah Hall
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2012 10:54
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:25
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5266

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