Study of reading skills in children with epilepsy. Volume 16, issue 4, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2004


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Unité de Neurologie pédiatrique, hôpital des Enfants, 330 avenue de Grande-Bretagne, 31059 Toulouse Cedex, Service Épidémiologie, faculté Jules Guesde, Toulouse, Centre Saint-Paul, hôpital Henri Gastaut, Marseille

Children with epilepsy are at risk of developing learning problems. To explore the influence of epileptic syndrome on reading abilities, we have compared neuropsychological profile of 12 children with benign partial centro-temporal epilepsy, 8 with temporal lobe epilepsy and 12 with idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Children were submitted to a selection of standardized tests designed to assess: oral language, reading, memory, attention and behavioral adjustment. Variance analysis have been adjusted on age of onset of epilepsy, duration of epilepsy, and IQ performance for each group. Children with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) score significantly lower for speed and reading comprehension, with an influence of the topography of the epileptic foci (left TLE vs right TLE). Phonological, semantic and verbal working memory deficits contribute to reading deficit in the TLE group. The TLE group have also significacantly greater behavioral problems than the two other groups. To a lesser extent children with idiopathic generalized epilepsy also exhibit reading disabilities. The results of the present study support evidence for the existence of epilepsy-specific patterns of neuropsychological dysfuntion in children and can help in understanding and treating academic underachievement in these populations.