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Kathleen Del Duca, Casey McCusker, Marie R. Kerins, Ed.D.

Effects of Total Communication on Verbal Output in Children with Down Syndrome

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Young children with Down syndrome typically present with speech and language delays compromising their ability to communicate their basic wants and needs. This proposed study aims to investigate whether the utilization of speech and sign (also known as Total Communication) in early intervention therapy will increase expressive language proficiency in toddlers with Down syndrome in comparison to those children who receive speech therapy only. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the experimental group (speech+sign therapy) or the control group (speech therapy) and results on progress of expressive verbal language will be compared. Expressive output will be measured via two methods: a parent survey from the MacArther-Bates Communicative Development Inventories: Words and Sentences (CDI-WS), and observation of a structured interaction between the child and a familiar adult occurring at both the beginning and end of this study.

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