First Advisor

Joan McMahon

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech: Emphasis in Speech Pathology/Audiology


Speech Communication




Children with mental disabilities -- Language



Physical Description

1 online resource (38 pages)


Recent investigation has focused on the nature of adult-child verbal interactions. The research has examined the language of mothers and other adults when assembled with both normal and retarded children. The present study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that mothers of children with Down's Syndrome and mothers of normal children would present different language characteristics to a Down's Syndrome child versus a normal child. Type-token ratio, a measure of the subject's language diversification, was used as the behavioral measure.

The findings indicated that all mothers presented smaller type token ratios to the Down's Syndrome child than those addressed to the normal child. The results were statistically significant at the .0005 level of confidence on a one-tailed test.

No significant differences in type-token ratio were found between groups of mothers of Down's Syndrome children and mothers of normal children in speeches addressed to the Down's Syndrome child or to the normal child. Both groups of mothers modified their language similarly to each child.


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