Verbal deficits in Down's syndrome and specific language impairment: a comparison

Glynis J Laws, DVM Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Down’s syndrome is a chromosome disorder characterized by a
range of physical and psychological conditions, including language impairment.
The severity of impairment is variable, and some components of the language
system appear to be more affected than others. This description could also
be applied to typically developing children diagnosed with specific language
Aims: To compare findings from the largely separate research literatures on
these conditions, and to address the questions about whether the language
pathology associated with Down’s syndrome could be the same as that
described as specific language impairment in typical development, and whether
the two conditions could have similar causes.
Main Contribution: Research studies suggest similar patterns of language
impairment in the two populations, and some similarities in underlying
processing deficits.
Conclusions: Future research should consider whether similarities in the language
behaviours associated with Down’s syndrome and specific language impairment
could be related to similarities at other levels of analysis, including neurological
development and genetics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-451
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Down's syndrome
  • Specific language impairment
  • Language disorders


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