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Speech production in children with Down's syndrome: The effects of reading, naming and imitation

Knight, R.-A., Kurtz, S. & Georgiadou, I. (2015). Speech production in children with Down's syndrome: The effects of reading, naming and imitation. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 29(8-10), pp. 598-612. doi: 10.3109/02699206.2015.1019006


People with DS are known to have difficulties with expressive language, and often have difficulties with intelligibility. They often have stronger visual than verbal short-term memory skills and, therefore, reading has often been suggested as an intervention for speech and language in this population. However, there is as yet no firm evidence that reading can improve speech outcomes. This study aimed to compare reading, picture naming and repetition for the same 10 words, to identify if the speech of eight children with DS (aged 11-14 years) was more accurate, consistent and intelligible when reading. Results show that children were slightly, yet significantly, more accurate and intelligible when they read words compared with when they produced those words in naming or imitation conditions although the reduction in inconsistency was non-significant. The results of this small-scale study provide tentative support for previous claims about the benefits of reading for children with DS. The mechanisms behind a facilitatory effect of reading are considered, and directions are identified for future research.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics on 16 Mar 2016, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Down syndrome, imitation, naming, reading, speech intelligibility
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
SWORD Depositor:
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