Vocal and gestural productions of 24-month-old children with sex chromosome trisomies

Laura Zampini, Lara Draghi, Gaia Silibello, Francesca Dall'Ara, Claudia Rigamonti, Chiara Suttora, Paola Zanchi, Nicoletta Salerni, Faustina Lalatta, Paola Vizziello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Children with sex chromosome trisomies (SCT) frequently show problems in language development. However, a clear description of the communicative patterns of these children is still lacking. Aims: To describe the first stages of language development in children with SCT in comparison with those in typically developing (TD) children. The purpose was to verify the existence of possible differences in communicative skills (in both vocal and gestural modality) and identify the presence of possible early predictors (i.e., low vocabulary size and low gesture production) of later language impairment in children with SCT. Methods & Procedures: Fifteen 24-month-old children with SCT (eight males with Klinefelter syndrome (KS) and seven females with triple X syndrome (TX)) and fifteen 24-month-old TD children (eight males and seven females) participated in the study. Their spontaneous communicative productions were assessed during a semi-structured play session in interaction with a parent. In addition, their vocabulary size was assessed using a parental report (the Italian version of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories). Outcomes & Results: With regards to their vocabulary size, 60% of children with SCT (75% of children with KS and 43% of children with TX) were at risk for language impairments (i.e., they had a vocabulary size smaller than 50 words). In addition, TD children showed better lexical and syntactic skills than children with SCT in their spontaneous communicative productions. However, the production of communicative gestures was higher in children with SCT than in TD children. Boys with KS appeared to differ from TD males in more aspects of communication than girls with TX differed from TD females. Conclusions & Implications: The study showed the importance of early detection of language risk factors in children with SCT, while also considering the use of compensatory strategies (e.g., the use of communicative gestures).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • gestures
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • language development
  • late-talking children
  • sex chromosome trisomies
  • triple X syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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