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Language development in FXS (Brady et al., 2020)

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posted on 01.10.2020 by Nancy C. Brady, Kandace Fleming, Shelley L. Bredin-Oja, Heather Fielding-Gebhardt, Steven F. Warren
Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate language growth in individuals with fragile X syndrome (FXS) from early childhood to adolescence and the influence of maternal responsivity on language growth.
Method: We conducted a longitudinal analysis of language development in 55 youths (44 males, 11 females) with FXS. Data collection spanned the ages of 11–216 months. We measured expressive and receptive vocabulary with standardized tests. The number of different words and mean length of utterance were obtained from language sample analyses of mother–child interactions. We also measured maternal comments (responsivity indicator) produced during the language samples and child nonverbal IQ.
Results: Growth models indicated that rates of number of different words and receptive vocabulary were related to maternal commenting. Mean length of utterance did not change significantly over time. Expressive vocabulary measured with a standardized test grew, but the growth was not related to maternal commenting. Nonverbal IQ was related to all language outcomes at age of 10 years and to changes over time in vocabulary. Visual analysis indicated that the highest scores on standardized tests were produced by girls; however, measures derived from language sample analyses appeared similar for boys and girls. Language models for boys only were similar to the total sample models with lower scores at age of 10 years for some outcomes.
Conclusion: Results of persistent language impairments for most youths with FXS suggest the need for continued, focused interventions aimed at improved language productions in addition to a responsive environment.

Supplemental Material S1. Models rerun excluding females.

Brady, N. C., Fleming, K., Bredin-Oja, S. L., Fielding-Gebhardt, H., & Warren, S. F. (2020). Language development from early childhood to adolescence in youths with fragile X syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00198

Funding

This study was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants NIH RO1 HD084563 (awarded to PIs Steve Warren and Nancy Brady) and NIH U54 HD090216 (awarded to PI John Colombo).

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