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Phenotypic Specific Social Communication Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome

Abstract Phenotypic Specific Communication Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome Children with Down syndrome (DS) have greater difficulty acquiring expressive language than is predicted by their general cognitive abilities and language comprehension (Miller, 1999). To date, interventions to improve communication outcomes for children with DS have met with only modest success. The proposed study is a randomized controlled trial of an early communication intervention combining two evidence-based treatments that teach expressive communication (Enhanced Milieu Teaching; EMT) and joint attention/symbolic play (Joint Attention Symbolic Play Engagement and Regulation; JASPER) using a dual mode (words + signs). The intervention (a) teaches the foundations of communication (joint attention, play), (b) builds on positive child characteristics of social attention, (c) uses naturalistic strategies to increase the rate and complexity of communication and increase task engagement, (d) addresses the potential value of adding visual support (signs) to spoken communication, and (e) includes parents as implementers of the intervention to promote generalization across settings and activities, and to ensure maintenance over time. The study will enroll 72 30 to 54 month old children with DS who have fewer than 20 words. Examining predictors of response to treatment and the effects of treatment on executive functioning will inform both theory and practice.

Grantor: The John Merck Foundation

Expected completion date: 01/31/18

Project or Grant: Grant
Date Span: February 01, 2014 to January 31, 2018
Principal Investigators: Ann Kaiser
Academic Department: Special Education