Assesment of Children with Epilepsy Seen at a Speech and Language Disorders Clinic for School Failure

Merve Savaş Sezin Başoğlu Ebru Sönmez Topçu Özlem Çokar Fenise Selin Karalı

Introduction: School-failure is not related to a single factor, but it may be affected by multiple factors such as the general health status of the individual, his/her family and psycho-social environment, lack of academic skills, and economic conditions. Many studies have reported that children with epilepsy experience disabilities in language, cognitive and social-emotional development resulting in academic failure, regardless of the type and clinical features of epilepsy. Purpose: This study aimed to determine the underlying reasons for the academic difficulties of children with epilepsy by defining their language and cognitive abilities. Four children who were seen for school failure at a Speech and Language Therapy Clinic were included in the study. Method: The children were administered WISC-IV (Wechsler Intelligence Sale four Children-4), TODİL (a Turkish language test for school-age children-Topbaş and Güven, 2017), TAST (a Turkish non-word repetition test, Topbaş, Kaçar-Kütükçü, and Kopkallı-Yavuz,  2014). Also, audiological measurements such as pure tone audiometry, auditory brainstem response, acoustic immittance, speech audiometry test and otoacoustic emissions tests were performed. In addition to these procedures, 2 mathematical problems and Turkish reading and comprehension questions were given to participants. Information regarding the child's relationship with siblings and peers and the level of success in school lessons were also obtained from parents. Results: As a result of WISC-IV, Case 1 had scores indicating ‘mental retardation’, Case 2 and 4 had scores indicating ‘borderline intelligence’ and Case 3 had ‘below average’ level of intelligence.  As for, TODİL, verbal language scores were measured as between ‘average’ and ‘below average’. In the TAST, none of the participants were close to the maximum score of the test. Comparing to reading and reading comprehension, mathematical abilities were affected severely. Reading speed was found to be within the normal range in all participants; they did not skip sounds, syllables, words, sentences or lines during reading. Even though some of the participants had to double-check their answers, comprehension questions were answered correctly. In math, the ability to transform the verbal mathematical problems into arithmetic operations, dividing and determining the number of groups and arithmetic operations (addition with carrying, subtracting decimals, multiplying and dividing) were negatively affected. As for audiological evaluations, there was no hearing impairment. No behavioral and social-emotional problems were reported. Conclusion: School success is affected by many factors. Although none of the participants have social and emotional problems, language and cognitive deficits were detected. These results support the idea that Speech and Language Therapists should be a part of comprehensive assessment and intervention process. 


school failure, epilepsy, language impairment, mental retardation, benign epilepsy


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