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February 1991

Mutism: Studies in Disorders of Communication

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles, Calif

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(2):129. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530140017004

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Lebrun's short monograph offers a readable overview of mutism in all of its aspects. The text presents a wide-ranging pastiche of sundry "condition[s] in which there is no, or very little, oral-verbal expression, whilst comprehension... is normal or at least at a considerably higher level than oralverbal output" (p 1). Organized into a short chapter on the psychology of silence and two longer chapters on functional mutism and organic mutism, the book is significant more for its breadth than for its depth. The text is amply referenced and has a useful subject and author index.

Topics, almost dazzling in their variety, range from akinetic mutism to aphemia, from esophageal speech to speech apraxia, from monastic silence to the family dynamics of children who maintain silence at school, from mutism after cerebral commissurotomy to muteness of the famous "wild child" of Aveyron. Lebrun's general approach is to provide vignettes illustrating each

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