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ERIC Number: EJ902888
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1058-0360
The Language Abilities of Bilingual Children with Down Syndrome
Bird, Elizabeth Kay-Raining; Cleave, Patricia; Trudeau, Natacha; Thordardottir, Elin; Sutton, Ann; Thorpe, Amy
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, v14 n3 p187-199 Aug 2005
Children with Down syndrome (DS) have cognitive disabilities resulting from trisomy 21. Language-learning difficulties, especially expressive language problems, are an important component of the phenotype of this population. Many individuals with DS are born into bilingual environments. To date, however, there is almost no information available regarding the capacity of these individuals to acquire more than 1 language. The present study compared the language abilities of 8 children with DS being raised bilingually with those of 3 control groups matched on developmental level: monolingual children with DS (n=14), monolingual typically developing (TD) children (n=18), and bilingual TD children (n=11). All children had at least 100 words in their productive vocabularies but a mean length of utterance of less than 3.5. The bilingual children spoke English and 1 other language and were either balanced bilinguals or English-dominant. English testing was completed for all children using the following: the Preschool Language Scale, Third Edition; language sampling; and the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories (CDI). Bilingual children were also tested in the second language using a vocabulary comprehension test, the CDI, and language sampling. Results provided evidence of a similar profile of language abilities in bilingual children as has been documented for monolingual children with DS. There was no evidence of a detrimental effect of bilingualism. That is, the bilingual children with DS scored at least as well on all English tests as their monolingual DS counterparts. Nonetheless, there was considerable diversity in the second-language abilities demonstrated by these individuals with DS. Clinical implications are addressed.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Tel: 800-638-8255; Fax: 301-571-0457; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory; Preschool Language Scale