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Do infants with Down syndrome show an early receptive language advantage?

Stojanovik, V., Mason-Apps, E., Houston-Price, C., Seager, E. and Buckley, S. (2019) Do infants with Down syndrome show an early receptive language advantage? Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. ISSN 1558-9102 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

Purpose The study explored longitudinally the course of vocabulary and general language development in a group of infants with Down syndrome (DS) compared to a group of typically-developing (TD) infants matched on non-verbal mental ability (NVMA). Method We compared the vocabulary and general language trajectories of the two groups in two ways: a) at three time points during a 12 month period, and b) at 2 time points when the groups had made equal progress in non-verbal mental ability (a period of 6 months for the TD infants, versus 12 months for the infants with DS). Results The TD group had overtaken the DS group on all general language and vocabulary measures by the end of the 12-month period. However, expressive communication and expressive vocabulary were developing at the same rate and level in the two groups when examined over a period in which the two groups were matched in gains in non-verbal mental ability. Furthermore, the infants with DS showed a receptive language advantage over the TD group; this group’s auditory comprehension and receptive vocabulary scores were superior to those of the TD group at both time points when non-verbal mental ability was accounted for. Conclusion The results shed light on the widely reported discrepancy between expressive and receptive language in individuals with DS. Although infants with DS appear to be developing language skills more slowly than chronological age TD peers, when NVMA is taken into account, infants with DS do not have expressive language delays and they seem to show a receptive language advantage.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:87401
Uncontrolled Keywords:Down syndrome, receptive language, early language
Publisher:ASHA

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