Clinical Issues: Language and Communication Development in Children With Down Syndrome Recently, I had the privilege of presenting a workshop at the British Columbia Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists in Kelowna, BC. I took the opportunity to review the recent literature on language development in children with Down syndrome (DS) as well as reviewing promising approaches to speech and ... Clinical Issues
Clinical Issues  |   October 01, 2006
Clinical Issues: Language and Communication Development in Children With Down Syndrome
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jon F. Miller
    Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Clinical Issues
Clinical Issues   |   October 01, 2006
Clinical Issues: Language and Communication Development in Children With Down Syndrome
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 2006, Vol. 13, 17-20. doi:10.1044/lle13.3.17
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 2006, Vol. 13, 17-20. doi:10.1044/lle13.3.17
Recently, I had the privilege of presenting a workshop at the British Columbia Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists in Kelowna, BC. I took the opportunity to review the recent literature on language development in children with Down syndrome (DS) as well as reviewing promising approaches to speech and language intervention. The result of these reviews was a renewed optimism that indeed, we had learned a great deal in the past 5 years and that the next decade will produce even more research leading to improved language and communication outcomes for children with DS.
Perhaps the most important research findings come from the work of Robin Chapman and colleagues, who documented that language continues to develop beyond adolescence into young adulthood (Chapman, 2000, 2003; Chapman & Hesketh, 2000; Chapman, Hesketh, & Kistler, 2002; Chapman, Seung, Schwartz, & KayRaining Bird, 1998). Across anumber of these studies, she noted improved performance on comprehension measures for vocabulary and syntax. Measures of language production revealed improved vocabulary although syntactic progress was limited. In a unique study of narrative skills, Miles and Chapman (2002)  found children with DS had equivalent skills in managing narrative structure in story retell compared to typical children at the same mental age. These findings overturn decades of assumptions fueled by critical periods theories, which suggested that language learning ceased at about age 12. This view lead to not providing speech and language services to older children, adolescents, and adults with DS on the grounds that they could no longer benefit from treatment. We can now argue, however, that language learning continues into adulthood. After spending decades conducting research and working with families with developmental disabilities, it is heartening to finally have documented continued language and communication progress.
First Page Preview
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview ×
View Large
Become a SIG Affiliate
Pay Per View
Entire SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education content & archive
24-hour access
This Issue
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access
We've Changed Our Publication Model...
The 19 individual SIG Perspectives publications have been relaunched as the new, all-in-one Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.