Reference : Referental communication in Down syndrome : Assessment and remediation program
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Poster
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Referental communication in Down syndrome : Assessment and remediation program
Elbouz, Mouna [ > > ]
Comblain, Annick mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Services administratifs généraux > Relations extérieures : Direction - Rectorat : Cabinet du Recteur >]
Fourth European Conference : Psychological Theory and Research on mental retardation and cognitive developmental disabilities
23-25 mai 2002
Université de Catania
[en] Down syndrome ; Referential communication ; assessment
[en] Referential communication focuses on the reference process which consists in using words in order to describe objects called "referents". The ability of someone to give information regarding what he sees, thinks or feels as well as his ability to understand messages that he hears slowly develops between 6 and 11 years-old in normally developing children. Development of these abilities in Down syndrome children is much more difficult as these children seem to be relatively insensitive to the interlocutor needs in a situation of communication. Our study focuses on the ability oaf Down syndrome children in giving or receiving a correct message. The paradigm we used is the one of Glucksberg et al. (1966). The eight selected Down syndrome children were between 4;10 and 8;5 years-old (the youngest group) and 12;1 and 14;1 (the oldest group). They were matched with a group of normally developing children on the basis of metal age. Different referential communication tasks were proposed as a pre-test. Each child was assessed in the speaker (with another child first and secondly with and adult) and receptor situation (only with another child). At the end of the pre-test, half of the Down syndrome children received training activities of referential communication during 8 weeks. After the training sessions, the children were post-tested. The results show qualitative and quantitative differences between the youngest and the oldest Down syndrome children, on one hand, and between normally developing children and Down syndrome on the other hand. The messages of Down syndrome children are less spontaneous than those of normally developing children, the messages contain fewer information and the responses are more often inadequate. The training seems to have positive effects on Down syndrome children performances, especially on the oldest children. But we notice that the training seems to influence the speaker abilities only. The receptor abilities seems to remain unaffected by the training sessions. Our study gives some information about the area of language the less studied in Down syndrome. However, researches are still necessary in order to complete the intervention perspectives.

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