Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Susan Loveall

Second Advisor

Toshikazu Ikuta

Third Advisor

Carolyn Higdon


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Prosody is an important component of effective communication, playing a major role in language comprehension and expression. Despite its importance, little research has examined prosody in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a population that struggles with communication. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to compare prosodic skills in individuals with PWS to individuals with mixed-etiology intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) as well as determine patterns of prosodic strengths and weakness among individuals with PWS. Adolescents and adults with PWS (n = 9) were matched to adults with mixed-etiology IDD (n = 9) on nonverbal ability. Participants completed standardized assessments measuring IQ (Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test – 2nd edition), receptive vocabulary (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – 4 edition), and prosody (Profiling Elements of Prosody in Speech-Communication; PEPS-C). Adolescents and adults with PWS performed better than adults with mixed-etiology IDD on the majority of the prosody subtasks. In addition, individuals with PWS demonstrated better prosody comprehension on word-level tasks versus phrase-level tasks. However, the opposite was true for phrase-level tasks; participants with PWS exhibited better prosody expression on phrase-level tasks versus word-level tasks. As the first study to examine prosody in PWS, these results provide foundational information for future research. Further, by identifying prosodic weaknesses comin PWS, the results will have important implications for speech and language therapy outcomes in this population.



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