Speech Impairment in Down Syndrome: A Review Purpose: This review summarizes research on disorders of speech production in Down syndrome (DS) for the purposes of informing clinical services and guiding future research.Method: Review of the literature was based on searches using MEDLINE, Google Scholar, PsycINFO, and HighWire Press, as well as consideration of reference lists ... Review
Review  |   February 2013
Speech Impairment in Down Syndrome: A Review
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ray D. Kent
    Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Houri K. Vorperian
    Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Correspondence to Ray D. Kent: kent@waisman.wisc.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Ben A. M. Maassen
    Associate Editor: Ben A. M. Maassen×
  • © 2013 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Speech
Review   |   February 2013
Speech Impairment in Down Syndrome: A Review
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 178-210. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0148)
History: Received May 2, 2012 , Accepted June 17, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 178-210. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0148)
History: Received May 2, 2012; Accepted June 17, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose: This review summarizes research on disorders of speech production in Down syndrome (DS) for the purposes of informing clinical services and guiding future research.

Method: Review of the literature was based on searches using MEDLINE, Google Scholar, PsycINFO, and HighWire Press, as well as consideration of reference lists in retrieved documents (including online sources). Search terms emphasized functions related to voice, articulation, phonology, prosody, fluency, and intelligibility.

Conclusions: The following conclusions pertain to four major areas of review: voice, speech sounds, fluency and prosody, and intelligibility. The first major area is voice. Although a number of studies have reported on vocal abnormalities in DS, major questions remain about the nature and frequency of the phonatory disorder. Results of perceptual and acoustic studies have been mixed, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions or even to identify sensitive measures for future study. The second major area is speech sounds. Articulatory and phonological studies show that speech patterns in DS are a combination of delayed development and errors not seen in typical development. Delayed (i.e., developmental) and disordered (i.e., nondevelopmental) patterns are evident by the age of about 3 years, although DS-related abnormalities possibly appear earlier, even in infant babbling. The third major area is fluency and prosody. Stuttering and/or cluttering occur in DS at rates of 10%–45%, compared with about 1% in the general population. Research also points to significant disturbances in prosody. The fourth major area is intelligibility. Studies consistently show marked limitations in this area, but only recently has the research gone beyond simple rating scales.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported, in part, by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC006282, awarded to the second author, and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Core Grant P-30 HD0335, awarded to the Waisman Center. We thank Erin Henigan Douglas, Jennifer Lewandowski, and Kathryn Lester for their assistance with the review of the literature and the compilation of information for the summary tables. We also thank Jacqueline Houtman for her comments on earlier versions of this article.
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