Macrostructural narrative language of adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome

Lizbeth H. Finestack, Meghan Palmer, Leonard J Abbeduto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: To gain a better understanding of language abilities, the expressive macrostructural narrative language abilities of verbally expressive adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome (DS) and those with fragile X syndrome (FXS) were examined. Method: The authors evaluated 24 adolescents and young adults with DS, 12 male adolescents and young adults with FXS, and 21 younger children with typical development (TD). Narrative samples were assessed at the macrostructural level using the narrative scoring scheme (Heilmann, Miller, Nockerts, & Dunaway, 2010). Three group comparisons were made using (a) the full sample matched on nonverbal mental age, (b) a subset of the participants individually matched on nonverbal mental age, and (c) a subset of participants individually matched on mean length of utterance. Results: Study analyses revealed that the DS and FXS groups significantly outperformed the TD group on a limited number of narrative scoring scheme measures. No significant differences emerged between the DS and FXS groups. Conclusions: The study's results suggest that some aspects of macrostructural narrative language may be relative strengths for adolescents and young adults with DS and those with FXS. These results can be used to create more nuanced and informed approaches to assessment and intervention for these populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-46
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Down syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Narrative language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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