The main goal of this symposium is to compare morphosyntactic abilities across populations of Spanish-speaking children with different language disorders: Primary Language Impairment (PLI/SLI), Down Syndrome (DS), Williams Syndrome (WS) and deaf children with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants.
Morphosyntactic contrasts have been shown, mostly between DS and WS. Recently work has been published comparing PLI/SLI to DS that has suggested morphosyntactic similarities (Laws & Bishop, 2003, 2004, for English and Caselli, Monaco, Trasciani & Vicari, 2007, for Italian). Still language specific characteristics need to be explored.
Further, little, if any, research has been exposed comparing deaf children to these populations. One study by Ramírez, Odell, Archbold & Nikolopoulos (2009) suggests that morphosyntactic similarities may be found between deaf children and other populations with language disorders. Contrary to these findings, it has been suggested that children with WS have morphosyntactic abilities that are superior to their intellectual level and distinct to other disorders.
Most research has been carried out with English-speaking children and it has been well established that generalizations to other languages are limited because of language specific differences (Caselli et al., 2008). For instance, both Spanish and Italian are morphologically rich languages compared to English.
The data presented in this symposium are a first step, to our knowledge, to compare Spanish-speaking children with PLI/SLI, DS, WS and deafness. Findings illustrate similar patterns in their morphosyntactic development, with the exception of children with WS. We will discuss similarities and differences among groups in the presentations.