Down Syndrome Research and Practice 11(1)
(Robertson) Ringenbach, Allen, Chung, and Jung
The present study examined continuous and discrete bimanual drumming in response to different instructions in 10 adults with Down syndrome, 10 mental age-matched and 10 chronological age-matched groups. For continuous drumming, participants hit two drums with both hands at the same time following verbal (e.g., "up" and "down"), visual (e.g., video of both drumsticks moving up and down together) and auditory (e.g., sound of both drums being hit, then symbol being hit) instructions for 10 s. For discrete drumming participants hit two drums with both hands at the same time once in response to the instructions described above. In general, for all groups spatial measures showed a performance advantage when using the visual metronome in continuous tasks but no advantage with any instructions for discrete tasks.
Simultaneous treatment of grammatical and speech-comprehensibility deficits in children with Down syndrome
Camarata, Yoder, and Camarata
Children with Down syndrome often display speech-comprehensibility and grammatical deficits beyond what would be predicted based upon general mental age. Historically, speech-comprehensibility has often been treated using traditional articulation therapy and oral-motor training so there may be little or no coordination of grammatical and speech-comprehensibility treatment. The purpose of this paper is to provide the rationale for and preliminary evidence in support of integrating speech and grammatical intervention using a type of recast treatment in six children with Down syndrome. Speech-comprehensibility and MLU growth in generalisation sessions occurred in 4/6 and 5/6 participants, respectively. Using multiple baseline design logic, two of these participants showed evidence of treatment effects on speech-comprehensibility and two in MLU in generalisation sessions, respectively. The study constitutes a conservative test of the intervention effects for reasons that are discussed. The theoretical and applied significance of these findings are discussed.
Mahoney, Perales, Wiggers, and Bob Herman
Responsive Teaching is an early intervention curriculum designed to address the cognitive, language, and social emotional needs of young children with developmental problems. This innovative intervention model was derived from research conducted primarily with children with Down syndrome and their mothers. Results from these studies indicated that during the early childhood years, parents promote their children's development by engaging in highly responsive interactions throughout their daily routines. The effects of responsiveness are mediated by the impact it has on children's use of several pivotal developmental behaviours, such as social play, attention, initiation and persistence. Responsive Teaching helps parents learn to use Responsive Teaching strategies to promote the pivotal developmental behaviours that are relevant to their children's developmental needs. Research with 50 children with developmental problems and their parents indicated that Responsive Teaching was highly effective at addressing children's developmental and social emotional needs. The effects of this intervention were mediated by the impact that RT strategies had on children's pivotal developmental behaviours.
Määttä, Tervo-Määttä, Taanila, Kaski, and Iivanainen
The mental health, adaptive behaviour and intellectual abilities of people with Down syndrome (n=129) were evaluated in a population-based survey of social and health care records. Females had better cognitive abilities and speech production compared with males. Males had more behavioural problems than females. Behaviour suggestive of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was often seen in childhood. Depression was diagnosed mainly in adults with mild to moderate intellectual disability. Autistic behaviour was most common in individuals with profound intellectual disability. Elderly people often showed decline of adaptive behaviour associated with Alzheimer's disease. Case descriptions are presented to illustrate the multitude of mental health and behavioural issues seen from childhood to old age in this population.
Motor control has long been associated with language skill, in deficits, both acquired and developmental, and in typical development. Most evidence comes from limb praxis however; the link between oral motor control and speech and language has been neglected, despite the fact that most language users talk with their mouths. Oral motor control is affected in a variety of developmental disorders, including Down syndrome. However, its development is poorly understood. We investigated oral motor control in three groups: adults with acquired aphasia, individuals with developmental dysphasia, and typically developing children. In individuals with speech and language difficulties, oral motor control was impaired. More complex movements and sets of movements were even harder for individuals with language impairments. In typically developing children (21-24 months), oral motor control was found to be related to language skills. In both studies, a closer relationship was found between language and complex oral movements than simple oral movements. This relationship remained when the effect of overall cognitive ability was removed. Children who were poor at oral movements were not good at language, although children who were good at oral movements could fall anywhere on the distribution of language abilities. Oral motor skills may be a necessary precursor for language skills.