Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Toshikazu Ikuta

Second Advisor

Susan Loveall-Hague

Third Advisor

Ying Hao

Relational Format



Individuals with Down syndrome, a population that often struggles with communication, present a unique linguistic profile of strengths and weaknesses. Almost no research has examined prosody in adults with DS, despite the important role it plays in effective communication. The present study investigated the prosodic profile of seven adults with Down syndrome (18;07-34;11 years) using the Profiling Elements of Prosody for Speech and Communication (PEPS-C), and compared the group’s expressive and receptive prosodic abilities to a group of seven adults with mixed-etiology intellectual and developmental disability (29;02-37;07 years) matched on nonverbal ability. Data analyses showed that the group with Down syndrome had a marginally significant lower score than the group with mixed-etiology intellectual and developmental disability on expressive contrastive stress. The group with Down syndrome also had relative weaknesses in expressive and receptive contrastive stress, expressive affect, and imitation but relative strengths in receptive affect, expressive and receptive turn-end, and expressive boundary. Although these observations mirrored aspects of the linguistic profile of Down syndrome, the results suggest a unique prosodic profile for Down syndrome that is not exclusively determined by their larger linguistic profile.

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