Journal Article

On Language Deficits and Modality in Children With Down Syndrome: A Case Study of Twins Bilingual in BSL and English

Bencie Woll and Nicola Grove

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 1, issue 4, pages 271-278
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online January 1996 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.deafed.a014302
On Language Deficits and Modality in Children With Down Syndrome: A Case Study of Twins Bilingual in BSL and English

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It has been suggested that there may be an age advantage for the acquisition of sign language relative to spoken language for two reasons: (1) language in the visual-motor modality may be easier to access, recall, and produce than language in the auditory-vocal modality and (2) the continuity in form between gesture and sign language may promote the transition from prelinguistic to linguistic communication. These suggestions have provided the impetus for many language intervention programs for children with intellectual impairments. This article reports on hearing identical twins with Down syndrome who have Deaf parents. The twins are bilingual, having been exposed since infancy to both English and British Sign Language. Analyses of tests and spontaneous data reveal a high degree of fluency in gesture but impairments in both languages, suggesting that the fundamental problems of children with Down syndrome are not modality-specific and that there are discontinuities between gesture and language.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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