Predicting Language Production in Children and Adolescents With Down Syndrome: The Role of Comprehension

Chapman, Robin S.; Seung, Hye-Kyeung; Schwartz, Scott E.; Raining-Bird, Elizabeth Kay
April 2000
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2000, Vol. 43 Issue 2, p340
Academic Journal
Predictors of language production skills in 12-minute narratives are investigated cross-sectionally in 48 children and adolescents with Down syndrome (trisomy 21), aged 5 to 20 years, in comparison to 48 control children aged 2 to 6 years matched statistically for nonverbal mental age and mother's years of education. Two models were evaluated by hierarchical regression analyses using predictors drawn from the domains of group membership, chronological age, cognition, socioeconomic status, and hearing screening status (Model I) and, additionally, comprehension performance (Model II). Results showed that Model II was more successful. In the DS group, it explained 68% of the variability in number of different words, 80% in MLU, and 32% in intelligibility. Corresponding percentages for the control group were 72%, 71%, and 26%. A mechanism linking comprehension of input to early stages of production practice through activation of the early speech motor area is proposed.


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