Communication abilities of people with Down’s syndrome
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Background: There is substantial evidence highlighting the language difficulties associated with people with Down’s syndrome (DS). However, there is far less known about the communication abilities, including the use of non-verbal skills of DS individuals within interactions. Aim: The study aims to examine the communication abilities of one 17-year-old boy with DS through interactions with the researcher. Methods: One individual with DS participated in this study. Two assessments; the British Picture Vocabulary Scale III (Dunn, Dunn, Styles & Sewell, 2009) and the Renfrew Action Picture Test (Renfrew, 1997) were informally carried out to gather information on his expressive and receptive language abilities. Thirteen interactions between the participant and researcher were then video recorded in a semi-natural environment before being analysed using Conversation Analysis (CA) methods. Results: CA showed the participant’s frequent use of non-verbal communication to support his verbal expression and ability to produce a variety of complex sentences. Difficulties in word finding and initiation were also highlighted from the analyses. Conclusion: A variety of relative strengths and weaknesses were identified in the communication and interactional abilities of the participant. Broadly speaking, his receptive abilities were more advanced than his expressive abilities, which is consistent with previous studies.
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