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Maternal Speech to Children with Down Syndrome: An Update

Author(s): Jean-Adolphe Rondal | Laurence Docquier

Journal: Journal of Speech and Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis
ISSN 1932-4731

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 48;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: language development | Down Syndrome | child-addressed speech | maternal speech | language environment | nativism | learning theory.

Recent research on maternal speech to children with Down Syndrome (DS) generally corroborates studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. Specifically, the characteristics of language used by parents when speaking to children with mental retardation closely matches the characteristics of language addressed to typical children with the same language age. The question remains, however, why the language of children with DS develops more slowly and sometimes never reaches adult levels. This question is examined in reference to nativistic and learning theory frameworks.

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