In this presentation I will review some recent evidence for the impact of focal brain injury in early life on language performance in later childhood and adolescence. I will focus on two broad neural systems: the dorsal and ventral streams in the left hemisphere and the interhemispheric connections. I will also consider the moderating effects of language plasticity (atypical language dominance) on language outcome and will speculate on which factors might promote inter-hemispheric language shifts. I will conclude with examples of how such evidence can help guide neurosurgical resections to eloquent regions in the developing brain. A greater understanding of the neural mechanisms which shape the lateralized patterning of cortical networks remains an important question for future research, as it might offer insights into mechanisms of recovery of function after neurological injury.
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