Charles West: a 19th century perspective on acquired childhood aphasia

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Hellal, Paula ; Lorch, Marjorie (2005)

Dr Charles West was the founder (1852) of the first paediatric hospital in the English-speaking world. In a career spanning four decades, he devoted a great part of his energies to describing the nervous diseases of infants and children. In 1871, West published a series of lectures which focused uniquely on the developmental and acquired language and mental disorders of children. West's clinical experience indicated that acquired aphasia was almost always a transitory condition in children. However, there was one exceptional case which West followed for over 3 years. It represents the youngest case of persistent aphasia described in the modern English medical literature. West's writings reflect a significant early attempt to document and categorise language loss and disturbance in children. In this paper, we detail West's innovations in the description, assessment and treatment of child language disorders.
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