The severity and range of linguistic impairments in youths with epilepsy were studied at UCLA, Los Angeles, State Fullerton University, and UC at Irvine, California. Tests of language, intelligence, achievement, and psychiatric interviews were administered to 182 youths with epilepsy, ages 6.3-8.1, 9.1-11.7, and 12.0-15.2 years, and to 102 normal children. Parents provided demographic, seizure-related and behavioral information. Language scores 1 SD below average were significantly more frequent in epilepsy subjects than in controls. Intermediate and adolescent epilepsy groups had significantly lower mean language scores compared to controls. The older group had more language impairment. Longer duration of epilepsy, absence epilepsy, psychiatric diagnosis, and socioeconomic status were associated with linguistic deficits in the young group. Prolonged seizures, lower Peformance IQ and minority status predicted low language scores in the intermediate age epilepsy group. Poor seizure control, decreased Performance IQ, and lower socioeconomic status correlated with language impairment in the adolescent group. Linguistic and reading deficits were significantly related in each epilepsy group. [1]

COMMENT. Linguistic and reading impairment in pediatric and adolescent epilepsy increases with age, and predictors of impairment vary with each age goup. Language assessment and intervention are important in children with epilepsy.