Communication deficits in infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities

Megan A. Hattier, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
Johnny L. Matson
Megan Sipes
Nicole Turygin


Research that focuses on detecting and assessing the presence of communication impairments in children with developmental disabilities exists. However, more research is needed which compares these deficits across individuals with various developmental disabilities. This information could inform the assessment process and treatment programs. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine communication deficits in toddlers who were diagnosed with Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy (CP), had a history of seizures or a seizure disorder, and who were born premature. A total of 140 toddlers 17-35 months of age met inclusion criteria for the study. Those diagnosed with CP evinced significantly fewer communication impairments on the Baby and Infant Screen for aUtIsm Traits-Part 1 (BISCUIT-Part 1) than children with Down syndrome and children with a history of seizures or seizure disorder. No significant differences were found on the communication subscale for the comparison of those with CP and those born prematurely. Children diagnosed with CP had fewer endorsements, indicating less impairment, on all six items of the Communication subscale of the BISCUIT-Part 1 when compared to the three other diagnostic groups. Implications of these results are discussed for children with differing handicaps.