Examining the Language Phenotype in Children With Typical Development, Specific Language Impairment, and Fragile X Syndrome Purpose One aspect of morphosyntax, finiteness marking, was compared in children with fragile X syndrome (FXS), specific language impairment (SLI), and typical development matched on mean length of utterance (MLU). Method Nineteen children with typical development (mean age = 3.3 years), 20 children with SLI (mean age = ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
Examining the Language Phenotype in Children With Typical Development, Specific Language Impairment, and Fragile X Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Eileen Haebig
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Audra Sterling
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Jill Hoover
    University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Eileen Haebig: ehaebig@purdue.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Marleen Westerveld
    Associate Editor: Marleen Westerveld×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
Examining the Language Phenotype in Children With Typical Development, Specific Language Impairment, and Fragile X Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1046-1058. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0185
History: Received May 19, 2015 , Revised August 13, 2015 , Accepted January 28, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1046-1058. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0185
History: Received May 19, 2015; Revised August 13, 2015; Accepted January 28, 2016

Purpose One aspect of morphosyntax, finiteness marking, was compared in children with fragile X syndrome (FXS), specific language impairment (SLI), and typical development matched on mean length of utterance (MLU).

Method Nineteen children with typical development (mean age = 3.3 years), 20 children with SLI (mean age = 4.9 years), and 17 boys with FXS (mean age = 11.9 years) completed the Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (TEGI; Rice & Wexler, 2001), and other cognitive and language assessments. Quantitative comparisons on finiteness marking and qualitative comparisons of unscorable (i.e., nontarget) TEGI responses were conducted.

Results Children with typical development and FXS performed better on finiteness marking than children with SLI. Although unscorable responses were infrequent, boys with FXS produced more unscorable responses than children with typical development and SLI.

Conclusions Although boys with FXS have language deficits, they performed similarly to MLU-matched typically developing children on finiteness marking. This language profile differs from children with SLI, who present with a delay-within-a-delay profile with finiteness marking delays that exceed delays in MLU. Unscorable responses produced by the boys with FXS may reflect pragmatic deficits, which are prominent in this population. Assessment procedures should be carefully considered when examining language in boys with FXS.

Acknowledgments
We acknowledge the funding sources that supported this project: NIDCD R03 DC011616 (Sterling), NIDCD F31 DC013485 (Haebig), NICHD P30 HD003352 (Messing), NIDCD F31 DC009135 (Hoover), and NICHD T32 DC000052 (Rice). We thank the families who participated in our study as well as the lab members who contributed to this work, with particular thanks to Susen Schroeder, Courtney Ramsczyk, Alison Pollan, Erin Schwartz, and Kayla MacKay.
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