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September 1988

Developmental Gerstmann's Syndrome

Arch Neurol. 1988;45(9):977-982. doi:10.1001/archneur.1988.00520330063011

• The tetrad of finger agnosia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and right-left disorientation make up Gerstmann's syndrome. The tetrad has been infrequently described in children with learning disability and has been called developmental Gerstmann's syndrome (DGS). Developmental Gerstmann's syndrome may occur in braindamaged and apparently normal children. Five children in whom DGS occurred in association with brain abnormalities underwent long-term observation, which indicated persistence of the deficits. The identification of these cases suggests that DGS may not be as rare as previously thought and may often be unrecognized. Testing for the Gerstmann elements in learning-disabled children may identify otherwise undiagnosed cases of DGS and should be routinely employed in the neurologic examination. Until appropriate teaching methods for DGS are found, "bypassing" the deficits and utilizing the child's strengths, plus counseling, seem to offer an effective treatment approach.