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Disorders of reading and writing 

Disorders of reading and writing
Chapter:
Disorders of reading and writing
Author(s):

Alexander P. Leff

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199655946.003.0018
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date: 01 June 2020

Acquired disorders of reading (alexia) and writing (agraphia) occur most commonly as part of a generalized language disorder (aphasia), where speaking and auditory comprehension are affected; however, they may also be encountered in isolation. In the former case, shared linguistic processing is damaged so these disorders are termed ‘central’. By contrast, isolated forms of alexia or agraphia are considered ‘peripheral’. Isolated agraphia is very rare, but almost all neurologists and stroke physicians will encounter peripheral alexia as the commonest form, hemianopic alexia, will affect the majority of patients presenting with a right-sided homonymous hemianopia. This chapter deals with the classification and clinical features of all the major forms of alexia and agraphia. The differential breakdown of reading or writing can be a helpful diagnostic clue, especially in patients presenting with progressive cognitive impairments. Therapy options are also discussed.

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