The Relationship Between Event Representation and Linguistic Skill in Narratives of Children and Adolescents With Down Syndrome Children and adolescents with Down syndrome present with greater difficulty in expressive language than nonverbal cognitive domains. As narratives involve an understanding of the relationship(s) between events and their verbal expression, this divergence has implications for understanding narrative abilities in persons with Down syndrome. In this project, we investigated the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2000
The Relationship Between Event Representation and Linguistic Skill in Narratives of Children and Adolescents With Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Donna M. Boudreau
    Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Robin S. Chapman
    Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Contact author: Donna Boudreau, PhD, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751. Email: boudreaud@pdx.edu
    Contact author: Donna Boudreau, PhD, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751. Email: boudreaud@pdx.edu×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: boudreaud@pdx.edu
  • Currently affiliated with Portland State University, Portland, OR
    Currently affiliated with Portland State University, Portland, OR×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2000
The Relationship Between Event Representation and Linguistic Skill in Narratives of Children and Adolescents With Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1146-1159. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1146
History: Received April 2, 1999 , Accepted July 10, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1146-1159. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1146
History: Received April 2, 1999; Accepted July 10, 2000

Children and adolescents with Down syndrome present with greater difficulty in expressive language than nonverbal cognitive domains. As narratives involve an understanding of the relationship(s) between events and their verbal expression, this divergence has implications for understanding narrative abilities in persons with Down syndrome. In this project, we investigated the relationship between event representation and linguistic expression in narratives of children and adolescents with Down syndrome (n=31) and groups of typically developing children matched for mental age (n=31), syntax comprehension (n=28), or expressive language (n=27). A short wordless film, the Pear Story (Chafe, 1980), was viewed individually by each participant and then each participant retold the story to an adult who (presumably) had not seen the film. Findings suggest a disparate relationship between linguistic expression and event representation in narratives of children and adolescents with Down syndrome. Participants with Down syndrome produced narratives that were significantly longer and more complex than the expressive-language-matched-group, with no differences observed in event structure when compared to the MA-matched group. Comparatively, use of linguistic devices and cohesion were poorer in the children and adolescents with Down syndrome than in the MA-matched children, with no differences observed in comparison to children matched for expressive language.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development PostDoctoral Fellowship (T32 HD07489) awarded to the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, and to the first author; and by grants from the National Society for Down Syndrome and the National Institute of Health (RO1-HD23353) awarded to the second author. The helpful comments of Rose Sevcik, Mabel Rice, and several anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.
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