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Consonant and syllable complexity of toddlers with Down syndrome and mixed-aetiology developmental delays

S. B. Sokol, M. E. Fey,

Academic Literature


This study examines whether speech sound production of toddlers with Down syndrome (DS) is on par with or more severely impaired than that of mental age (MA) peers with developmental delay due to aetiologies other than Down syndrome at two points within an 18-month period near the onset of spoken word production. The utterances of 26 children with DS, aged 24-33 months, with a mean MA of 14.3 months, originally studied by Fey et al. and Warren et al. were compared to those of a group of 22 children with similar intellectual and communication delay but no DS (NDS). Phonological measures included the size of the consonant inventory, syllable shape complexity, and number of communication acts with canonical vocalizations. At Time 1, the DS group performed as well as or better than the NDS group on these measures of speech production. At Time 2, 18 months later, the DS group was behind the NDS group on the same measures. Results extended the pattern of more severe impairment in children with DS than NDS peers commonly noted in expressive language to measures of phonological development. © 2013 The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

Domain/s: Social relationships

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