Syntactic Complexity During Conversation of Boys With Fragile X Syndrome and Down Syndrome Purpose This study compared the syntax of boys who have fragile X syndrome (FXS) with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with that of (a) boys who have Down syndrome (DS) and (b) typically developing (TD) boys. Method Thirty-five boys with FXS only, 36 boys with FXS with ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2008
Syntactic Complexity During Conversation of Boys With Fragile X Syndrome and Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Johanna R. Price
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Joanne E. Roberts
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Elizabeth A. Hennon
    University of Evansville
  • Mary C. Berni
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kathleen L. Anderson
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • John Sideris
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Contact author: Johanna R. Price, who is now with the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, Mississippi University for Women, 1100 College Street, MUW-1340, Columbus, MS 39701-5800. E-mail: jprice@muw.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Autism Spectrum / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2008
Syntactic Complexity During Conversation of Boys With Fragile X Syndrome and Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 3-15. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/001)
History: Received September 21, 2006 , Revised April 7, 2007 , Accepted May 7, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 3-15. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/001)
History: Received September 21, 2006; Revised April 7, 2007; Accepted May 7, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 39

Purpose This study compared the syntax of boys who have fragile X syndrome (FXS) with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with that of (a) boys who have Down syndrome (DS) and (b) typically developing (TD) boys.

Method Thirty-five boys with FXS only, 36 boys with FXS with ASD, 31 boys with DS, and 46 TD boys participated. Conversational language samples were evaluated for utterance length and syntactic complexity (i.e., Index of Productive Syntax; H. S. Scarborough, 1990).

Results After controlling for nonverbal mental age and maternal education levels, the 2 FXS groups did not differ in utterance length or syntactic complexity. The FXS groups and the DS group produced shorter, less complex utterances overall and less complex noun phrases, verb phrases, and sentence structures than did the TD boys. The FXS with ASD group and the DS group, but not the FXS-only group, produced less complex questions/negations than did the TD group. Compared with the DS group, both FXS groups produced longer, more complex utterances overall, but on the specific complexity measures, they scored higher only on questions/negations.

Conclusion Boys with FXS and DS have distinctive language profiles. Although both groups demonstrated syntactic delays, boys with DS showed greater delays.

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, awarded to the second author. Portions of the data in this article were previously presented at the 9th World Down Syndrome Congress, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in August 2006. We thank the children and families who participated in this study. We also thank Anne Edwards, Cheryl Malkin, Jamila Foreman, and Joy Scott for their assistance with data collection; Holly Thomas, Kellin McKinney, Agnes Gucwa, Emily Scott, Amanda Byrd, Lindsay Hart, and Trisha Keith for their assistance with language transcription; and Jan Misenheimer and Jessica Kellermann for their help with data analysis. We also acknowledge the staff of the Carolina Fragile X Project, directed by Donald Bailey, for their assistance on this project.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access