Early effects of traumatic brain injury on young children's language performance: A preliminary linguistic analysis

Sue Morse, Flora Haritou, Katherine Ong, Vicki Anderson, Cathy Catroppa, Jeffrey Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Language skills undergo rapid development during the early childhood years, so that by the time children start school they are competent communicators with well established syntactic, semantic and pragmatic abilities for their age. Little is known about the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the acquisition of these language skills during the early childhood years. This study used a prospective, cross-sectional design to compare the language abilities of young children following their head injury. Fifteen brain injured children, aged between 4-6 years, were divided into three injury groups depending on severity of injury, i.e. mild, moderate and severe, and compared with a matched community control group. They were assessed within 3 months of sustaining their injury on a range of expressive and receptive language tests, and free speech conversation samples, which were analysed pragmatically and syntactically. Results indicated that the severe group performed most poorly on language tasks. It is suggested that linguistic evaluation is an important component of follow up at least for the severe head injured population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Language
  • TBI

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