Mental State Language Use in Children with Down Syndrome and the Role of Caregivers

Marie Moore Channell, Rebekah Bosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children with Down syndrome (DS) have both strengths and difficulties in speech, language, and social communication. Mental state language-the ability to discuss others' perspectives such as their thoughts, feelings, and intentions-represents a foundational social communicative skill that is delayed in many children with DS, even into the school-age years. The purpose of this article is to review the evidence base on mental state language development in school-age children with DS, focusing in particular on assessment and intervention. We discuss assessment procedures that are both age appropriate and developmentally appropriate for this population. We also present preliminary data highlighting the role of caregivers in supporting mental state language development in school-age children with DS through shared storytelling. We propose that interventions aimed at supporting mental state language development in DS should include a focus on caregiver-child shared storybook reading, even in the school-age years. Therefore, we discuss key considerations for clinicians when teaching caregivers strategies for supporting mental state language and social communication in children with DS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-329
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Speech and Language
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Down syndrome
  • mental state language
  • social communication
  • intellectual disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN

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