Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia
Print version ISSN 1516-8034
CICILIATO, Mariane Nardezi; ZILOTTI, Daiana Camargo and MANDRA, Patrícia Pupin. Characterization of the symbolic abilities of children with Down syndrome. Rev. soc. bras. fonoaudiol. [online]. 2010, vol.15, n.3, pp. 408-414. ISSN 1516-8034. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-80342010000300016.
PURPOSE: To characterize the symbolic abilities of a group of children with Down syndrome. METHODS: The study included 26 children with ages ranging from 12 to 36 months, divided into two groups: Down syndrome group (DSG) and control group (CG) - children within normal development. The groups were subdivided according to age range: DSG I and CG I comprised children from 12 to 24 months old; DSG II and CG II, children from 25 to 36 months. Data were gathered during a 30- (DSG) or 20-minute (CG) interaction session with the examiner, in a playful situation, according to the proposal of the behavioral observation protocol. RESULTS: The comparison between the control groups showed differences (p<0.05) in the forms of objects' manipulation, the level of symbolic development, and in overall performance on the protocol. In both Down syndrome groups there was a difference in the level of symbolic development. The between-group comparison according to age groups indicated differences in how children manipulated objects, in the level of symbolic development, and in overall performance on the protocol. The imitation of sounds and gestures did not differ significantly in this study. CONCLUSION: The results confirmed the hypothesis of delay in the development of symbolic abilities of children with Down syndrome. The evaluation of language and symbolism in a functional context allowed the confrontation of manifestations observed in this group with those described for children within normal language and symbolic development, showing that the level of symbolic development was the best measure for analyzing and monitoring the group.
Keywords : Down syndrome; Child language; Symbolism; Child development; Cognition.