The relationship between speech, oromotor, language and cognitive abilities in children with Down’s syndrome.

McCann, Joanne and Wood, Sara and Hardcastle, William J and Wishart, Jennifer and Timmins, Claire (2008) The relationship between speech, oromotor, language and cognitive abilities in children with Down’s syndrome. Working Paper. Queen Margaret University.


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Background: Children and young people with Down’s syndrome (DS) present with deficits in expressive speech and language, accompanied by strengths in vocabulary comprehension compared to nonverbal mental age. Speech intelligibility is particularly impaired, but whether speech is delayed or disordered is a controversial topic. Most studies suggest a delay, but no studies explore the relationship between cognitive or language skills and intelligibility. This study sought to determine whether severity of speech disorder correlates with language and cognitive level and to describe the types of errors, developmental or non-developmental, that occur in the speech of children and adolescents with DS. Methods & Procedures: 15 children and adolescents with DS (aged 10 to 18) were recruited. Participants completed a battery of standardised speech, language and cognitive assessments. The phonology assessment was subject to process analyses. Results from each test were correlated to determine relationships. Outcome & Results: People with DS present with deficits in receptive and expressive language that is not wholly accounted for by their cognitive delay. Receptive vocabulary is a strength in comparison to language skills, but it was unclear whether it is more advanced compared to non-verbal cognitive skills. The majority of speech errors were developmental in nature but all of the children with DS showed at least one atypical or non-developmental speech error.Conclusions: Children with DS present with speech disorders characterised by (often unusual) atypical errors alongside many developmental errors. Lack of correlation between speech and cognition or language suggests that the speech disorder in Down’s syndrome is not simply due to cognitive delay.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: This series consists of unpublished “working” papers. They are not final versions and may be superseded by publication in journal or book form, which should be cited in preference. All rights remain with the author(s) at this stage, and circulation of a work in progress in this series does not prejudice its later publication. Comments to authors are welcome.
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2009 18:06
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 15:37


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