Speech, Language, and Communication Deficits and Intervention in a Single Case of Pediatric Autoimmune Encephalitis.

Speech, Language, and Communication Deficits and Intervention in a Single Case of Pediatric Autoimmune Encephalitis.

Publication date: Sep 07, 2021

Purpose The current literature on pediatric autoimmune encephalitis (AE) focuses on medical identification/diagnosis and medical treatments. Data about the identification and treatment of communication disorders in these children are limited. This clinical focus article provides an example of the speech, language, and communication characteristics, intervention, and recovery of a single child with medical diagnoses of pediatric AE and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) and special education eligibility under the autism spectrum disorder category. Method This is an in-depth illustrative/descriptive case study. Medical, educational, and speech-language documentation of one child diagnosed with AE at age 7 years was reviewed. Methods included interviews with family members, teachers, and the school speech-language pathologist and reviews of documentation including evaluations, reports, and Individualized Education Programs. Results This child received special education and therapy services through his public school and a university speech-language clinic. He concurrently received medical treatment for AE and PANS. Comprehensive augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) intervention included the use of core words, modeling, parallel talk, self-talk, expansive recasts, shared book reading, family counseling, and collaboration with the parents and the school speech-language pathologist. The child made progress on all goals despite irregular attendance to therapy due to medical complications. Discussion Because experimental research including this population is currently limited, this descriptive case study provides valuable information to clinicians, educators, pediatricians, medical diagnosticians, and anyone providing services to a child with a complex neuropsychological disorder like AE. Future research is needed with more children who have AE, especially experimental investigations of the intervention methods utilized here. Additional research of more children with AE can provide information about the scope and severity of speech, language, and communication needs and the trajectory of recovery given AAC intervention.

Concepts Keywords
Autism Communication disorders
Interviews Medicine
Medical Human communication
Parents Medical specialties
Valuable Education therapy services
Autoimmune encephalitis
Speech–language pathology


Type Source Name
disease MESH Autoimmune Encephalitis
disease MESH diagnosis
disease MESH communication disorders
disease MESH pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome
disease MESH autism spectrum disorder
disease MESH complications

Original Article

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