Patterns of change in nonverbal cognition in adolescents with Down syndrome

Marie Moore Channell, Angela John Thurman, Sara Teresa Kover, Leonard Abbeduto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to examine longitudinal change in nonverbal cognitive abilities across adolescence for 20 males with Down syndrome (DS). We used hierarchical linear modeling to examine the rate of change in performance on the subtests of the Leiter-R Brief IQ across four annual time points and to determine the relation between maternal IQ and level and rate of change in performance. Results indicated no significant change in IQ (standard scores) with age in the sample, suggesting IQ stability during adolescence for individuals with DS, although several participants performed at floor level on the standard scores for the Leiter-R, limiting interpretation. Growth scores, however, provide a metric of absolute ability level, allow for the examination of change in Leiter-R performance in all participants, and minimize floor effects. Results from the analysis of growth scores indicated significant gain in absolute nonverbal cognitive ability levels (growth score values) over time for the adolescents with DS, although the growth varied by subdomain. Maternal IQ did not explain variability in cognitive performance or change in that performance over time in our sample of adolescents with DS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2933-2941
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive development
  • Down syndrome
  • IQ
  • Leiter-R
  • Nonverbal abilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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