Community Forum Archive

LTL surgery - language/memory problems

Sun, 09/23/2007 - 20:50
My daughter had LTL surgery in December 2005. She has been seizure free since (knock on wood!) and will be going off her medication completely at the end of month. She was 8 years old at the time of her surgery and had been having complex partial seizures for about 1 1/2 years. She is 10 now. Since her surgery though, she has had some problems with her language skills, in particular writing down her ideas. I think this is related to problems both with language and short term memory. I have read that this was a possible side effect of the surgery. What I am wondering is whether anyone has had similar problems and has specific suggestions for how best to help her. Her difficulty in written expression has made school more challenging for her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


Re: LTL surgery - language/memory problems

Submitted by EarthMonkey on Sun, 2007-09-23 - 23:41
It sounds like she has aphasia which is a common side effect of surgery. Aphasia is loosing words when talking. It is something that happened to me from surgery in the left temporal lobe. I also had difficulties with writing after surgery. In writing ideas does her teacher have her build webs with the main idea and details to build her ideas? Or have her write an outline first? Does she make a list of ideas to write about? You might help her develop lists of adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs to support her ideas. Does she have a thesaurus to use to support her writing? She might have a broken up paper with room for pictures where she draws then writes an idea sentence, then draws then writes an idea sentence, then draws and writes an idea sentence. You also might develop graphics that are divided into five sections with main idea drawn in the middle and details in each of the four outside areas; her ideas are built through drawings rather than the perfect word. She might try a graph that has a character idea area, a setting idea area, and an action idea area. Or senses areas such as smell, sight, hearing, feeling, or taste. You might consider having her draw out a cartoon of the story first then have her fill in the story in sequence. Also have her not worry about mistakes until the final draft. You might have her write and if she is stuck on the word draw a picture (doesn't matter if it is messy just so long as she can recognize it) and go back and write in the word once she remembers it.

Re: Re: LTL surgery - language/memory problems

Submitted by FlaMom on Mon, 2007-09-24 - 09:47
Thanks so much. These are all great ideas that I will discuss with her teacher. You don't say how long ago you had your surgery. Did you have improvement over time in your memory and writing? Or have they stayed the same or worsened since surgery? Also, have you found any other memory activities or games that help? I was thinking there might be a work book or computer game that helped with verbal memory but I can't seem to find anything. Thanks again!

Re: Re: Re: LTL surgery - language/memory problems

Submitted by EarthMonkey on Tue, 2007-09-25 - 00:23
I had surgery 12 years ago. My writing improved just through use. My aphasia has stayed the same since about six months after the surgery. I went through a class in the first several months following surgery that is designed for people who have gone through brain trauma or surgery to help us focus and organize thinking process. My understanding of aphasia is it is permanent. If she is having serious problems with speech you might consider talking to the speech therapist at her school. A lot of times they are willing to give suggestions for at home assistance even if the child is not tested for speech difficulties through the school. I didn't use any specific memory things or games. I went back to school and did graduate school. That made me think. I never had severe memory problems except from drug side effects. When I went off phenol barbital and dilantine my memory came back. If she is on certain drugs they can effect her memory and speech.

Re: Re: Re: Re: LTL surgery - language/memory problems

Submitted by rosalieh on Tue, 2007-09-25 - 10:19
I'm curious about this. In what percentage of the cases do you think that memory/language problem are caued by drugs versus surgery, or by the seizures themselves? Does anyone know what percentage of people with temporal lobe surgery do have memory problems afterwars caused by surgery? Rosalie

Since LTL surgery, my short

Submitted by solis on Tue, 2007-09-25 - 15:40
Since LTL surgery, my short term memory is definitely worse than before despite the fact that I'm now completely off AEDs. Names of specific people, places, and things that aren't part of my routine life need to be looked up and written down. Then again, I'm also at an age when the memory starts to decline naturally so this new situation isn't recognizable by anyone else. Thankfully, one thing I never forget is where I have things written. Here are some pages on surgery & memory: http:/ Hope that helps.. ~sol

Re: Since LTL surgery, my short

Submitted by FlaMom on Tue, 2007-09-25 - 17:22
Thanks for all the comments. Memory loss seems to be quite common after LTL surgery as I've read many studies online regarding this topic. Specifically, it always seems to mention verbal memory. What I never can find is whether there are any tips or tricks for regaining this lost skill. Perhaps memory games, memorizing lines from a play, lists of words, etc. Does anybody have any suggestions for strengthening verbal memory? Also, I'm wondering if my daughter's difficulty with writing is more related to a memory issue (forgetting where she was going with her thoughts) or if it has to do with organizing her language (which is what it seems to me). Because her seizures started around age 7, I don't think she really remembers her thinking processes before medications and then surgery. In otherwords, she can't explain to me what has changed. Has anyone else noticed a difficulty with language processing (not just recalling words)? Thanks again!

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