Discourse Skills of Boys With Fragile X Syndrome in Comparison to Boys With Down Syndrome Purpose This study compared the conversational discourse skills of boys who have fragile X syndrome with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with those of boys with Down syndrome and boys who are typically developing. Method Participants were boys who have fragile X syndrome with (n = 26) ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2007
Discourse Skills of Boys With Fragile X Syndrome in Comparison to Boys With Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joanne Roberts
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences and Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Gary E. Martin
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lauren Moskowitz
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Adrianne A. Harris
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Jamila Foreman
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lauren Nelson
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Contact author: Joanne E. Roberts, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 105 Smith Level Road, CB# 8180, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8180. E-mail: joanne_roberts@unc.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Autism Spectrum / Normal Language Processing / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2007
Discourse Skills of Boys With Fragile X Syndrome in Comparison to Boys With Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2007, Vol. 50, 475-492. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/033)
History: Received January 12, 2006 , Revised May 31, 2006 , Accepted July 13, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2007, Vol. 50, 475-492. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/033)
History: Received January 12, 2006; Revised May 31, 2006; Accepted July 13, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 34

Purpose This study compared the conversational discourse skills of boys who have fragile X syndrome with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with those of boys with Down syndrome and boys who are typically developing.

Method Participants were boys who have fragile X syndrome with (n = 26) and without (n = 28) ASD, boys with Down syndrome (n = 29), and boys who are typically developing (n = 22). Turns during an examiner–child interaction consisting of structured and semistructured activities were coded for the boys' ability to maintain a topic of conversation and the frequency of perseveration.

Results The results revealed that boys who had both fragile X and ASD produced significantly more noncontingent discourse than did boys who had only fragile X, boys with Down syndrome, or typically developing boys. This finding was observed regardless of whether the topic was maintained or changed and whether the turn type was a response or initiation. Regardless of autism status, boys with fragile X used more perseveration than did boys in the other groups.

Conclusion These findings suggest that some aspects of the conversational discourse difficulties attributed to fragile X syndrome may be a function of the high rate of comorbidity between fragile X and autism, whereas some difficulties may be characteristic of fragile X syndrome.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants 1 R01 HD38819, 1 R01 HD044935, and 1 R03 HD40640. We thank the children and families who participated in this study. We greatly appreciate the assistance of Anne Edwards, Elizabeth Barnes, Elizabeth Hennon, and Kathleen Anderson for their assistance with data collection. We also thank Jan Misenheimer and Eloise Neebe for help with data analysis. We also appreciate the assistance of Sherry Didow, Robin Chapman, and Helen Tager-Flusberg on our protocol development. We want to thank the staff of the Carolina Fragile X Project, directed by Donald Bailey, for their assistance on this project. We appreciate Sarah Henderson’s assistance in the preparation of this article.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access