Deficient language acquisition in children with single suture craniosynostosis and deformational posterior plagiocephaly

Childs Nerv Syst. 2012 Mar;28(3):419-25. doi: 10.1007/s00381-011-1623-6. Epub 2011 Nov 15.


Purpose: This study examined early language acquisition in children with single suture craniosynostosis (SSC) and in children with deformational posterior plagiocephaly. Our purpose was to determine whether infants with SSC have normal language acquisition at the age of 3 years, and whether infants with deformational posterior plagiocephaly demonstrate parallel development when compared with children with SSC.

Methods: The study population includes 61 infants. Twenty of them had synostosis of the sagittal suture, 12 synostosis of other suture and 29 deformational posterior plagiocephaly. Forty-nine of them were operated on a mean age of 10.6 months, and 12 were non-operated children with deformational posterior plagiocephaly. Language skills of participants were prospectively evaluated at the mean age of 3 years 4 months.

Results: About one half of the subjects (49%) had normal linguistic development, 30% had slight developmental problems and 21% had severe disorders in speech-language-related skills. These figures showed the prevalence of severe language disorders to be three times higher in our study population when compared with the general population. Children with sagittal synostosis managed better in all language skills compared with other types of SSC. Defective language development was found in deformational posterior plagiocephaly, both operated and non-operated.

Conclusions: We found a noticeable developmental risk for specific language impairment in children with nonsyndromic SSC, and that the deviant language development is observable already in early infancy. Contrary to previous beliefs, the developmental risk for defective language development in deformational posterior plagiocephaly was found in both operated and non-operated subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Sutures / physiopathology*
  • Cranial Sutures / surgery
  • Craniosynostoses / complications*
  • Craniosynostoses / surgery
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Male
  • Plagiocephaly, Nonsynostotic / complications*
  • Plagiocephaly, Nonsynostotic / surgery