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Keywords:

  • behavioral phenotypes;
  • genetic disorders;
  • communication;
  • language development;
  • Williams syndrome;
  • Down syndrome;
  • fragile X syndrome;
  • intervention

Abstract

This paper focuses on the communication and language phenotypes associated with three genetic disorders: Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, and fragile X syndrome. It is argued that there is empirical evidence that these disorders predispose children to specific profiles of strength and weakness in some areas of speech, language, and communication, and that intervention planning for children with each syndrome may take an approach informed by these profiles. Issues related to within-group variability, shared outcomes among syndromes, and the need for empirical validation for syndrome-specific recommendations are discussed. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. MRDD Research Reviews 2007; 13:47–57.