Motor Influences on Communication: Comparisons Between Down Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome

Will, Elizabeth ARoberts, Jane E


Motor skills, skills involving movements of the body are an important foundation for language and communication. The development of these skills is delayed in children with Down syndrome (DS) and also in those with fragile X syndrome (FXS). However, the true impact of these impairments remains unknown. The findings of this study demonstrate that early motor skills play a big role in the development of communication skills over time for patients with DS or FXS, and early intervention methods could be helpful.


Motor skills, an important foundation for language and communication, are considerably delayed in children with Down syndrome (DS) and fragile X syndrome (FXS). However, the impact of these impairments on expressive and receptive communication and the phenotypic specificity of these associations remains unknown. Participants included 37 with DS and 37 age and developmentally matched children with FXS. Syndrome-specific motor and communication profiles emerged, with higher communication scores seen in the DS versus FXS on, but lower gross motor scores. Significant associations between domains of motor and communication were identified for both groups with additional phenotype-specific patterns. Findings demonstrate the importance of early motor abilities for communication in DS and FXS. Implications for phenotypic specificity and targeted intervention are discussed.


Fragile X Syndrome, Syndrome