Nonverbal Cognitive Abilities Profile in Children with Down Syndrome

Tatiana Pontrelli Mecca Cindy Pereira de Almeida Barros Morão Patrícia Botelho da Silva Elizeu Coutinho de Macedo About the authors

Down syndrome (DS) is one of the best known causes of intellectual disability, and low cognitive functioning is associated with deficits in adaptive and functional behavior. Part of the knowledge regarding cognitive abilities in DS is based on comparisons between verbal and nonverbal tasks. However, difficulties related to language may compromise the assessment of individuals with DS in traditional intelligence tests. The present study aimed to verify the performance of children with DS in the Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised, comparing them to a group of typically developing children, as well as comparing their own performance in different subtests. The participants were thirty children with DS between 3 and 8 years (M = 4.57, SD = 1.40) matched with control group by age, sex and school. The results showed lower scores in the DS group than controls in subtests that assess visual processing and fluid reasoning performance. There were gender differences only in the subtest that evaluated inductive reasoning, with best performance by girls. Intra-group analyses showed greater ease of DS children in tasks of visual synthesis, sequential and inductive reasoning in relation to visual discrimination skills. The results showed that the Leiter-R can be used to carry out non-verbal assessments of various cognitive skills in children with DS, as well as providing understanding of their cognitive profile from performance on different subtests.

Special Education; Down Syndrome; Assessment; Intelligence; Cognition

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