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Language skills in five to eight year-old children with 22q11 deletion syndrome

Journal article
Authors Christina Persson
Lena Niklasson
Sólveig Oskarsdóttir
S. Johansson
Radoslava Jönsson
Ewa Söderpalm
Published in International Journal of language and communication disorders
Volume 41
Issue 3
Pages 313-333
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 313-333
Language en
Keywords 22q11 deletion syndrome, language impairment, narrative analysis, phonology, receptive vocabulary
Subject categories Logopedics and phoniatrics, Children


BACKGROUND: Language impairment and delayed language onset have been described, although not investigated in detail, in children with 22q11 deletion syndrome. AIMS: To investigate different areas of language: the ability to retell a narrative, phonology, syntax and receptive vocabulary in a group of 5-8-year-old children with 22q11 deletion syndrome regardless of whether or not they had a history of speech and language difficulties. Gender differences were also investigated. METHODS & PROCEDURES: Nineteen consecutively referred children with 22q11 deletion syndrome, ten girls and nine boys, between the ages of 5 and 8 years, participated in the study. The mean full-scale IQ of the group was 78. Six children had an autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or a combination of these. Three different language tests were used: (1) the Bus Story - a test of narrative speech and language; (2) an articulation test including all Swedish phonemes in different positions; and (3) the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test - Revised (PPVT-R). OUTCOMES & RESULTS: All but two children had an information score in the retelling task of 1 SD below the population mean. A negative correlation between age and the information score implied that the older the children, the more severe the problems. One child had an average sentence length within the normal limits and five children had subordinate clauses within normal limits. A median of 4% of the utterances included grammatical errors. About 50% of the children had a complete consonant inventory. The phonological process analysis implied delayed rather than deviant development. The group had a moderately low score for receptive vocabulary. CONCLUSIONS: Language difficulties in all investigated areas of language were found. It is suggested that speech-language impairment is a common feature of 22q11 deletion syndrome. An implication of these results is that follow-ups of language skills are important not only for pre-school children, but also for school age children and adolescents with 22q11 deletion syndrome.

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