Authors: Shanthini, S. V.
Development of the brain has been considered as one of the crowning achievements in human evolution which facilitates language acquisition. Any form of injury and malfunctioning of the brain can inhibit language acquisition in children and in the case of adult can lead to dysfunction of language (Lenneberg, 1967 as cited in Lust, 2006). Birth asphyxia is considered as one of the major high risk factor that can interfere in language acquisition (Jansson-Verkasalo, 2004) and causes delay in speech and language development (D’Souza, Nolan, McCartney & Taylor, 1981). This follow up study (2011) is an extension of a pilot study conducted by Shanthini et al. (2009) that focused on analysing the language status of children with birth asphyxia without any other associated problems. The objectives of the study were to check if there is any deviance in the language status of the children with birth asphyxia in relation to their APGAR score, time at which the APGAR score reached 8 and their cognition pertaining to language as the subject’s age increases and to compare the language status of the children with birth asphyxia to that of the typically developing children with respect to their gender by administering picture description and general conversation tasks targeting on morpho-syntactic structures in Tamil. It was found that children who had mild birth asphyxia with an APGAR score of 8 at the 2nd minute of birth acquired all the morpho-syntactic markers in Tamil where as those who had an APGAR score of 8 at the 5th and 10th minute of birth did not acquire all the morpho-syntactic markers in Tamil. The study, thus establishes a strong correlation between language status to the APGAR score, time at which APGAR score reached 8 and the cognition pertaining to language. However contributing factors such as environmental factors and other factors should be considered in order to generalize the results of the study.
Birth Asphyxia, Language status, APGAR score, Time at which APGAR score reached 8, Cognition pertaining to Language