Speech and Hearing: Down Syndrome
Speech and Hearing Main: Down Syndrome


About Sam

Such a simple word with such profound ramifications.

And yet this was one of the most difficult areas of my journey with Sam. Sam was born with Down syndrome, in his first year he suffered a brain injury due to oxygen deprivation which manifested itself with weakness on his right side. He was diagnosed with dysphagia and Apraxia. These areas of diagnosis were pretty easy to get. However, the diagnosis of hearing loss was not so easy.

From early on my gut feel was that Sam could not hear well. When I questioned his ENT he immediately agreed to a hearing test however Sam did not cooperate with most of it but he did react to some sounds so they indicated that his hearing was in the normal range. For a while I let the subject drop but it still nagged at me. Sam learned to read and began to speak although much of his speech was cued from his reading but he rarely answered questions correctly and had a great deal of difficulty picking up on new words unless he read them first. I felt a great deal of his frustration stemmed from him not being able to hear well.

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Language Acquisition in Children With Down Syndrome

Robert J. Doman, Jr.

NACD’s neurodevelopment approach to the treatment of children with Downs Syndrome is to view speech and language impairments as stemming from the limited development of auditory tonal processing, and auditory sequential processing. The latter determines the ability to process language, think conceptually, and achieve adequate self-expression. The need for self-expression or to communicate can be restricted because of health issues, and can lead to alternative means of communication such as sign language. Contrary to many medical practitioners and caregivers who allow sign language, NACD stresses that signing adversely affects typical development.

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