Vocal Interaction Between Children With Down Syndrome and Their Parents Purpose The purpose of this study was to describe differences in parent input and child vocal behaviors of children with Down syndrome (DS) compared with typically developing (TD) children. The goals were to describe the language learning environments at distinctly different ages in early childhood. Method Nine children ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2014
Vocal Interaction Between Children With Down Syndrome and Their Parents
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathy S. Thiemann-Bourque
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Steven F. Warren
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Nancy Brady
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Jill Gilkerson
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
  • Jeffrey A. Richards
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Kathy S. Thiemann-Bourque: thiemann@ku.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Cynthia Cress
    Associate Editor: Cynthia Cress×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2014
Vocal Interaction Between Children With Down Syndrome and Their Parents
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2014, Vol. 23, 474-485. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-12-0010
History: Received February 3, 2012 , Revised November 29, 2012 , Accepted March 2, 2014
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2014, Vol. 23, 474-485. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-12-0010
History: Received February 3, 2012; Revised November 29, 2012; Accepted March 2, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose The purpose of this study was to describe differences in parent input and child vocal behaviors of children with Down syndrome (DS) compared with typically developing (TD) children. The goals were to describe the language learning environments at distinctly different ages in early childhood.

Method Nine children with DS and 9 age-matched TD children participated; 4 children in each group were ages 9–11 months, and 5 were between 25 and 54 months. Measures were derived from automated vocal analysis. A digital language processor measured the richness of the child's language environment, including number of adult words, conversational turns, and child vocalizations.

Results Analyses indicated no significant differences in words spoken by parents of younger versus older children with DS and significantly more words spoken by parents of TD children than parents of children with DS. Differences between the DS and TD groups were observed in rates of all vocal behaviors, with no differences noted between the younger versus older children with DS, and the younger TD children did not vocalize significantly more than the younger DS children.

Conclusions Parents of children with DS continue to provide consistent levels of input across the early language learning years; however, child vocal behaviors remain low after the age of 24 months, suggesting the need for additional and alternative intervention approaches.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded in part by supplemental funds from U.S. Department of Education Grant H324D030003-04A. We gratefully acknowledge research assistants Kimberly Monden and Janna Skinner for their diligent efforts on this project and the participating families for their time and support. Jill Gilkerson and Jeff Richards are employees of the LENA Research Foundation. No financial support for this study was provided by the LENA Research Foundation or any of its employees. Steve Warren is a member of the LENA Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Board but receives no compensation.
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