Growth of Expressive Syntax in Children With Fragile X Syndrome Purpose This research explored syntactic growth in children with fragile X syndrome (FXS) over a 5-year period, and variability in growth in relation to autism symptoms, nonverbal cognition, maternal responsivity, and gender. Method Language samples at 4 time points from 39 children with FXS, 31 boys and 8 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2017
Growth of Expressive Syntax in Children With Fragile X Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rouzana Komesidou
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Nancy C. Brady
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Kandace Fleming
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Amy Esplund
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Steven F. Warren
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • 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 Rouzana Komesidou: rkomesidou@ku.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Marleen Westerveld
    Associate Editor: Marleen Westerveld×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2017
Growth of Expressive Syntax in Children With Fragile X Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2017, Vol. 60, 422-434. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0360
History: Received October 19, 2015 , Revised March 28, 2016 , Accepted August 6, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2017, Vol. 60, 422-434. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0360
History: Received October 19, 2015; Revised March 28, 2016; Accepted August 6, 2016

Purpose This research explored syntactic growth in children with fragile X syndrome (FXS) over a 5-year period, and variability in growth in relation to autism symptoms, nonverbal cognition, maternal responsivity, and gender.

Method Language samples at 4 time points from 39 children with FXS, 31 boys and 8 girls, were analyzed using the Index of Productive Syntax (Scarborough, 1990) and mean length of utterance (Brown, 1973). The degree of autism symptoms was evaluated using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (Schopler, Reichler, & Renner, 1988) at the first time point. Maternal responsivity estimates were averaged across time points.

Results Children with FXS showed significant syntactic growth over time and a significant plateau (quadratic trend) in the later observations. Children who exhibited more autism symptoms at Time 1 had significantly lower syntactic abilities over time than children who exhibited fewer autism symptoms. Nonverbal cognition significantly predicted mean length of utterance scores but not Index of Productive Syntax scores. Maternal responsivity was not a significant predictor of syntactic outcomes. Girls with FXS generally demonstrated better expressive syntax than boys with FXS with notable individual differences.

Conclusion Despite significant growth over time, expressive syntax is a vulnerable domain for children with FXS, especially for those with severe autism symptoms. Clinical implications arising from the current findings are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Grant P30 HD003110 to the University of North Carolina (Principal Investigator [PI]: Joseph Piven) and NICHD Grant P30 HD002528 to the University of Kansas (PI: Steven F. Warren). We thank the parents and the children who participated in this study. We also thank Lizbeth H. Finestack for assisting with the Index of Productive Syntax scoring.
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