Næss, Ostad & Nygaard (2021): Differences and Similarities in Predictors of Expressive Vocabulary Development between Children with Down Syndrome and Young Typically Developing Children
Kari‐Anne B. Næss, Johanne Ostad, og Egil Nygaard
The purpose of this study was to examine potential differences in the predictors of expressive vocabulary development between children with Down syndrome and typically developing children to support preparation for intervention development.
An age cohort of 43 children with Down syndrome and 57 typically developing children with similar nonverbal mental age levels were assessed at three time points. Linear mixed models were used to investigate the predictors of expressive vocabulary over time.
Both groups achieved progress in expressive vocabulary. The typically developing children had steeper growth than the children with Down syndrome (1.38 SD vs. 0.8 SD, p < 0.001). In both groups, receptive vocabulary, auditory memory, and the home literacy environment were significant predictors of development. In the children with Down syndrome, the phonological awareness and oral motor skills were also significant. Group comparisons showed that receptive vocabulary, auditory memory and oral motor skills were stronger predictors in the children with Down syndrome than in the typically developing children.
These results indicate that children with Down syndrome are more vulnerable when it comes to risk factors that are known to influence expressive vocabulary than typically developing children. Children with Down syndrome therefore require early broad-based expressive vocabulary interventions.