Fast Mapping of Words and Story Recall by Individuals With Down Syndrome This study compared adolescents with Down syndrome to nonverbal mental-age matched controls in their ability to fast map new noun vocabulary in spoken story contexts. Context for novel words varied within subjects in the distance between mentions (close-distant) and the ease of inferring a real word for the referent (specificity). ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2004
Fast Mapping of Words and Story Recall by Individuals With Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
  • Robin S. Chapman
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Scott E. Schwartz
    University of Colorado-Boulder
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: rainbird@dal.ca
  • Contact author: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird, PhD, School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 1R2, Canada.
    Contact author: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird, PhD, School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 1R2, Canada.×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2004
Fast Mapping of Words and Story Recall by Individuals With Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2004, Vol. 47, 1286-1300. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/097)
History: Received September 17, 2002 , Revised July 28, 2003 , Accepted March 5, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2004, Vol. 47, 1286-1300. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/097)
History: Received September 17, 2002; Revised July 28, 2003; Accepted March 5, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 19

This study compared adolescents with Down syndrome to nonverbal mental-age matched controls in their ability to fast map new noun vocabulary in spoken story contexts. Context for novel words varied within subjects in the distance between mentions (close-distant) and the ease of inferring a real word for the referent (specificity). The 23 participants with Down syndrome (DS) were aged 12.8–20.3 years. The 24 typically developing (TD) children, matched on visual nonverbal mental age (MA), were 4.1 to 6.1 years old. Participants listened to 4 tape-recorded stories, each containing 3 mentions of 2 novel words in close or distant proximity and with clear or uncertain reference, and recalled each story after presentation. Fast-mapping production was measured by the occurrence of the novel word in story recall. Fast-mapping comprehension was measured by asking children to define the novel words. The DS group did not differ from the TD group in novel word production but seemed to have more difficulty with novel word definition. For both groups, novel word production was higher in the nonspecific than the specific referent condition, suggesting that availability of a real word label interfered with fast mapping. Recall of story propositions was poorer for the DS group. For both groups, story recall was better for text units not directly associated with novel words than for text units containing novel words, suggesting a trade-off effect in processing. Regression analyses indicated that syntax comprehension, rather than mean length of utterance, predicted novel word production in both groups; MA additionally contributed to predict DS story recall.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant R01-HD23353 to R. Chapman with additional support from the National Down Syndrome Society. We thank the participants and parents for their help. Thanks also to Wade Blanchard, Dalhousie University, for statistical consultation support.
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