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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2018 Dec 10;61(12):3023-3037. doi: 10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-18-0008.

A Multimethod Analysis of Pragmatic Skills in Children and Adolescents With Fragile X Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Down Syndrome.

Author information

1
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, St. John's University, Staten Island, NY.
2
Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
3
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Abstract

Purpose:

Pragmatic language skills are often impaired above and beyond general language delays in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. This study used a multimethod approach to language sample analysis to characterize syndrome- and sex-specific profiles across different neurodevelopmental disabilities and to examine the congruency of 2 analysis techniques.

Method:

Pragmatic skills of young males and females with fragile X syndrome with autism spectrum disorder (FXS-ASD, n = 61) and without autism spectrum disorder (FXS-O, n = 40), Down syndrome (DS, n = 42), and typical development (TD, n = 37) and males with idiopathic autism spectrum disorder only (ASD-O, n = 29) were compared using variables obtained from a detailed hand-coding system contrasted with similar variables obtained automatically from the language analysis program Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT).

Results:

Noncontingent language and perseveration were characteristic of the pragmatic profiles of boys and girls with FXS-ASD and boys with ASD-O. Boys with ASD-O also initiated turns less often and were more nonresponsive than other groups, and girls with FXS-ASD were more nonresponsive than their male counterparts. Hand-coding and SALT methods were largely convergent with some exceptions.

Conclusion:

Results suggest both similarities and differences in the pragmatic profiles observed across different neurodevelopmental disabilities, including idiopathic and FXS-associated cases of ASD, as well as an important sex difference in FXS-ASD. These findings and congruency between the 2 language sample analysis techniques together have important implications for assessment and intervention efforts.

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