Date of Completion

2015

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Type of Thesis

Honors College

First Advisor

Dr. Shelley Velleman

Keywords

Williams Syndrome, 7q11.23 Duplication Syndrome, narrative language, story grammar, evaluative language

Abstract

7q11.23 Duplication syndrome (Dup7) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a duplication of the same set of genes that are typically deleted in individuals with Williams syndrome. As a result of this genetic difference, Williams syndrome and Dup7 tend to present differently in individuals, particularly in terms of cognitive characteristics, social behaviors, and language development. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of these differences and their possible clinical implications by comparing narrative language samples from children with Dup7 to those from children with Williams syndrome. Video recordings of 45 children, ages seven to thirteen, telling a narrative using the wordless picture book, Frog, Where are You?, were used for the purposes of this project. Fifteen children with a Dup7 diagnosis were matched with one set of 15 children with Williams syndrome by expressive vocabulary level, and another set of 15 children with Williams syndrome by chronological age. Participant narratives were compared on the basis of several narrative measures including: (1) story length, (2) frequency of morphological (word grammar) errors, (3) elements, (4) the establishment and comprehension of the search theme, and (5) the use of evaluative language. The differences observed between the Dup7 and Williams syndrome narratives reflect the unique cognitive and social profiles typical of each disorder. Participants with Dup7 showed relative strengths in measures related to cognitive functioning, including maturity of story grammar, comprehension of search theme, and frequency of cognitive inferences made. Participants with Williams syndrome showed relative strengths in their use of evaluative language, particularly social engagement devices. Overall, the differences observed between Dup7 and Williams syndrome groups, as well as among participants within each group, speak to the importance of viewing each child as an individual with unique strengths and challenges.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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