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"Soft Signs" in Children With Learning Disorders

CHARLES F. BARLOW, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(5):605-606. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110300015001.
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During the past ten years, there has been considerable interest in "soft neurological signs." The subject has become a fashionable topic for discussion at any postgraduate exercise. This interest has paralleled the increasing medical and public concern about the problem of school learning disabilities. The two subjects are related because neurological signs can be equated with neurological disease in the past, and if neurological signs are present, the assumption may then be made that school failure may also relate to prior brain-damaging encephalopathy. There is some merit in this proposition, based on experience with postnatal brain diseases such as traumatic encephalopathy, encephalitis, etc, where there is reasonable correlation of a complex of neuropsychological findings and minor signs of dysfunction of the motor or sensory systems. However, the pitfalls of testing one system to determine the function of another are obvious. It is clear that the most important observations of central

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