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Walsh, M.N. (1967). Strephosymbolia Reconsidered—A Re-Study of a Specific Inhibition of the Use of Visual and Auditory Verbal Symbols. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 48:584-595.

(1967). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 48:584-595

Strephosymbolia Reconsidered—A Re-Study of a Specific Inhibition of the Use of Visual and Auditory Verbal Symbols

Maurice N. Walsh

SUMMARY

The analysis of a case of severe strephosymbolia is described. Rosen's (1955) finding of a lack of synthesis between the ordinal (phonetic) aspects of words and the visual aspects and the origin of this lack in primal scene fantasies and the pattern of object relationships is confirmed as well as his finding that precocity of the "reading readiness stage" of ego apparatus development is important etiologically. The importance of pregenital factors in the formation of early language, and the decisive role of pregenital conflicts in the predisposition to the operation of oedipal factors are described.

The opinion is expressed that regression rather than an initial failure to synthesize the ordinal (phonetic) and the visual aspects of words is

responsible for much of the symptomatology, this being contrary to the opinion expressed by Rosen (1955). While milder strephosymbolic syndromes may more or less clear during adolescence, the opinion is expressed that some inhibition in reading and spelling persists, at least in many if not most cases.

Optimism is not warranted in the treatment of such severe cases as that of the patient described in this communication, without psycho-analytic therapy, five years of intensive analysis being required for the resolution of his strephosymbolic syndrome. The opinion is expressed that a considerable, but unknown, number of school drop-outs are due to the discouraging effects of severe strephosymbolia. Education of teachers and speech therapists in the recognition of the strephosymbolic syndrome is recommended. Further research into the therapy of the syndrome is urgently needed.

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