Reading Profiles in Adolescents with Fragile X Syndrome and Down Syndrome

  • Anibal Puente Universidad Andrés Bello de Chile Facultad de Educación
  • Jesús M. Alvarado Universidad Complutense de Madrid Instituto de Estudios Biofuncionales Facultad de Psicología
  • Virginia Jiménez Universidad Complutense de Madrid Instituto de Estudios Biofuncionales Facultad de Psicología
  • Lourdes Martínez Universidad Complutense de Madrid Facultad de Psicología
Keywords: Fragile X Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Learning Disability, Cognitive Behaviour, Reading Skills


Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and Down Syndrome (DS) read better than expected for their mental age. We have measured three basic reading skills (word recognition, phonological awareness, and reading comprehension), and two standard intellectual and verbal measures: the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Tests. The tests were applied to 16 adolescents classified as FXS (M = 14.74 years old, SD = 4.03) and 16 adolescents classified as DS (M = 15.59 years old, SD = 2.35). For comparison purposes, the reading tests were also applied to a typical develop group of 70 children aged between 4.8 and 7.0 years (M = 6.11, SD = 0.71).  Children with DS and FXS exhibited verbal skills superior to their cognitive development, especially in the FXS group. In reading performance, FXS showed a reading level corresponding to 5/6 their age, and for SD 6/7 of the equivalent reading age, however, both groups exhibited a similar reading performance in the three reading skills measured, when nonverbal mental age was controlled.


Download data is not yet available.


Abbeduto, L., Brady, N., & Kover, S. T. (2007). Language development and fragile X syndrome: Profiles, syndrome-specificity, and within-syndrome differences. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews,13(1), 36–46.

Abbeduto, L., Warren, S. F., & Conners, F. A. (2007). Language development in Down syndrome: From the prelinguistic period to the acquisition of literacy. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 13, 247-261.

Adlof, S. M., Klusek, J., Shinkareva, S. V., Robinson, M. L., & Roberts, J. E. (2015). Phonological awareness and reading in boys with fragile X syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,56(1), 30-39. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12267

Alvarado, J. M., Puente, A., Fernández, M. P., & Jiménez, V. (2015). Análisis de los componentes en la adquisición de la lectura en castellano: una aplicación del modelo logístico lineal [Component analysis of Spanish reading process: an application of the linear logistic test model]. Suma Psicológica, 22(1), 45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.sumpsi.2015.05.006

Asociación Síndrome X-Frágil de Madrid. (2016). Retrieved from

Bailey, D. B., Hatton, D. D., Skinner, M., & Mesivob, G. (2001). Autism behavior, FMR1 protein, and developmental trajectories in young males with Fragile X symptoms and Down syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 165-174.

Bailey, D. B., Raspa, M., Holiday, D., Bishop, E., & Olmsted, M. (2009). Functional skills of individuals with fragile x syndrome: a lifespan cross-sectional analysis. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 114(4), 289–303.doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-114.4.289-303

Barnes, E., Roberts, J. E., Long, S. H., Martin, G. E., Berni, M. C., & Mandulak, K. C. (2009). Phonological accuracy and intelligibility in connected speech of boys with fragile X syndrome or Down syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing

Research, 52(4), 1048–1061. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0001)

Boudreau, D. (2002). Literacy skills in children and adolescents with Down syndrome. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15, 497–525.

Braden, M. L (2002). Academic interventions. In: Hagerman, R. J., Hagerman, P. J, editors. In Fragile X syndrome: Diagnosis, treatment, and research. JHU Press; Baltimore, MD (pp. 428–464).

Brun i Gasca, C., & Artigas-Pallarés, J. (2001). Aspectos psicolingüísticos en el síndrome X frágil. Revista de Neurología, 33 (Supl.1), 29-32

Buckley, S. J., & Johnson-Glenberg, M. (2008). Increasing literacy learning for individuals with Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome. In J. E. Roberts, R. S. Chapman& S. F. Warren (Eds.), Speech & language development & intervention in Down syndrome & fragile x syndrome (pp. 233-254). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.

Buckley, S. (2001). Reading and writing for individuals with Down syndrome: An overview. Portsmouth, Inglaterra: Down Syndrome Educational Trust.

Byrne, A., MacDonald, J., & Buckley, S. F. (2002). Reading, language and memory skills: A comparative longitudinal study of children with Down syndrome and their mainstream peers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72(4), 513-529. doi:10.1348/00070990260377497

Cardoso-Martins, C., Peterson, R., Olson, R., & Pennington, B. (2009). Component reading skills in Down syndrome. Reading and Writing, 22, 277-92. doi:10.1007/s11145-007-9114-6

Cardoso-Martins, C., & Frith, U. (2001). Can individuals with Down syndrome acquire alphabetic literacy skills in the absence of phoneme awareness? Reading and Writing, 14(3), 361–375.

Caselli, M. C., Monaco, L., Trasciani, M., & Vicari, S. (2008). Language in Italian children with Down syndrome and with specific language impairment. Neuropsychology,22, 27–35. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.22.1.27

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Improved national prevalence estimates for 18 selected major birth defects – United States, 1999 – 2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2006; 54, 1301–1305.

Cordero, A., Seisdedos, N., González, M., & de la Cruz, M. V. (2013). MSCA: Escalas McCarthy de aptitudes y psicomotricidad para niños: Manual. Madrid, España: TEA Ediciones.

Cornish, K. M., Turk, J., & Hagerman, R. (2008). The fragile X continuum: New advances and perspectives. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 52(6), 469-482. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2008.01056.x

Cupples, L., & Iacono, T. (2000). Phonological awareness and oral reading skill in children with Down syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 43, 595–608. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4303.595

Dunn, L. M., Dunn, L. M., & Arribas, D. (2010). PPVT-III, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. Madrid, España: TEA Ediciones.

Fernández, M. P., Puente, A., & Ferrando-Lucas, M. T. (2011). Lectura y escritura en niños con syndrome x frágil: Estrategias de intervención [Reading and writing in children with fragile x syndrome: Intervention strategies]. Anales de Psicología, 27(3), 807-815.

Fernández, M. P., Puente, A., & Ferrando-Lucas. M. T. (2010). Síndrome X frágil: Desarrollo e intervención del lenguaje escrito. Revista chilena de neuropsiquiatría, 48 (3), 219-231.

Ferrando-Lucas, M. T., Banús-Gómez, P. &, López-Pérez, G. (2003). Aspectos cognitivos y del lenguaje en niños con síndrome X-frágil. Revista de Neurología, 36 (Supl.1), 137-142.

Ferrier, L J., Bashir, A. S., Meryash, D. L., & Johnston J. (1991). Conversational skills of individuals with fragile-X syndrome: A comparison with autism and Down syndrome. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 33(9):776–788. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1991.tb14961.x

Finestack, L. H., Richmond, E., & Abbeduto, L. (2009). Language development in individuals with fragile x syndrome. Topics in Language Disorders, 29(2), 133–48. doi:10.1097/TLD.0b013e3181a72016

Finestack, L. H., & Abbeduto, L. (2010). Expressive language profiles of verbally expressive adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53, 1334–1348. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0125)

Flenthrope, J., & Brady, N. (2010). Relationships between early gestures and later language in children with fragile X syndrome. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19, 135-142. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/09-0018)

Fowler, A. E., Doherty, B. J., & Boyton, L. (1995). The basis of reading skills in young adults with Down syndrome. In L. Nadel & D. Rosenthal (Eds.), Down syndrome: Living and learning in the community (pp. 182-196). New York, EEUU: Wiley Liss.

Gathercole, S. E., & Pickering, S. J. (2001). Working memory deficits in children with special educational needs. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 28(2), 89-97.

Gombert, J. E. (2002). Children with Down syndrome use

phonological knowledge in reading. Reading and Writing, 15(5), 455–469.

Groen, M., Laws, G., Nation, K., & Bishop, D. V. M. (2006). A case of exceptional reading accuracy in a child with Down syndrome: Underlying skills and the relation to reading comprehension. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 23(8), 1190-1214. doi:10.1080/02643290600787721

Huete García, A. (2016). Demografía e inclusión social de las personas con síndrome de Down. Revista Síndrome de Down, 33, 38-50.

Johnson-Glenberg, M. C. (2003). Literacy and working memory in those with fragile X syndrome. Paper presented at the 24th annual meeting of the Society for Research on Children’s Language Disorders, Madison, WI.

Johnson-Glenberg, M. C. (2008). Fragile X syndrome: Neural network models of sequencing and memory. Cognitive Systems Research, 9(4), 274–292. doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2008.02.002

Johnson, D. J., & Myklebust, H. R. (1967). Learning disabilities: Education principles and practices. New York, EEUU: Grune & Stratton, Inc.

Kay-Raining Bird, E., Cleave, P. L., & McConnell, L. M. (2000). Reading and phonological awareness in children with Down syndrome: A longitudinal study. American Journal Speech Language Pathology, 9, 319-330.

Laws G., & Gunn D. (2002). Relationships between reading, phonological skills and language development in individuals with Down syndrome: A five year follow-up study. Reading and Writing, 15(5), 527–548.

Lovett, M. W., Borden, S. L., DeLuca, T., Lacerenza, L., Benson, N. J., & Brackstone, D. (1994). Treating the core deficits of developmental dyslexia: Evidence of transfer of learning after phonologically- and strategy-based reading programs. Developmental Psychology, 30, 805-822. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.30.6.805

McCarthy, D. (1972). A manual for the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities. New York, EEUU: Psychological Corporation.

Menghini, D., Verucci, L., & Vicari, S. (2004). Reading and phonological awareness in Williams syndrome. Neuropsychology, 18, 29-37. doi:10.1037/0894-4105.18.1.29

Mirrett, P., Roberts, J., & Price, J. (2003). Early intervention practices and communication intervention strategies for young males with fragile X syndrome. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 34, 320-331. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/026)

Nation, K., & Norbury, C. F. (2005). Why reading comprehension fails: Insights from developmental disorders. Topics in Language Disorders, 25(1), 21-32. doi:10.1097/00011363-200501000-00004

Puente, A., Alvarado, J. M., Fernández, P., Rosselli, M., Ardila, A., & Jiménez, A. (2016). Assessment of Reading Precursors in Spanish-Speaking Children. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 19(e85), 1-12. doi:10.1017/sjp.2016.92

Price, J., Roberts, J., Vandergrift, N., & Martin, G. (2007). Language comprehension in boys with fragile X syndrome and boys with Down syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 51, 318-326. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2006.00881.x

Price, J. R., & Kent, R. D. (2008). Increasing speech intelligibility in Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome. In J. E. Roberts, R. S. Chapman& S. Warren (Eds.)Speech and language development and intervention in Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome (pp. 219-232). Baltimore, EEUU: Brookes.

Ribate Molina, M. P., Pié Juste, J., & Ramos Fuentes, F. J. (2010). Síndrome X Frágil. Protocolos Diagnósticos y Terapéuticos en Pediatría. 1, 85-90.

Roberts, J. A., & Scott, K. A. (2006). The simple view of reading: Assessment and intervention. Topics in Language Disorders, 26(2), 127-143. doi:10.1097/00011363-200604000-00005.

Roberts, J., Martin, G., E., Moskowitz, L., Harris, A. A., Foreman, J., & Nelson, L. (2007). Discourse skills of boys with fragile X syndrome in comparison to boys with Down syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.50 (2):475–492 doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/033)

Roberts, J. E., Price, J., & Malkin, C. (2007). Language and communication development in Down syndrome. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 12, 26-35. doi:10.1002/mrdd.20136

Scarborough, H. S. (1998). Early identification of children at risk for reading disabilities: Phonological awareness and some other promising predictors. In B. K. Shapiro, P. J. Accardo & A. J. Capute (Eds.) Specific reading disability: A view of the spectrum (pp. 75-119). Timonium, EEUU: York Press.

Siegel, L. S. (1993). Phonological processing deficits as the basis of a reading disability. Developmental Review, 13(3), 246–257. doi:10.1006/drev.1993.1011

Snowling, M. J. (1980). The development of grapheme–phoneme correspondence in normal and dyslexic readers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 29, 294–305.

Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., & Mercer, R. C. (2002). A deficit in rime awareness in children with Down syndrome. Reading and Writing, 15(5), 471–495.

Spiridigliozzi, G., Lachiewicz, A., MacMordo, C., Vizoso, A., O'Donnell, C., McConkie-Rosell, A., & Burgess D. (1994). Educating boys with fragile x syndrome: A guide for parents and professionals. Duke University Medical Center; Durham, NC, EEUU.

Sullivan, K., Hatton D., & Hammer, J. (2006). ADHD symptoms in children with FXS. American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part A; 140A, 2275-2288.

Torgesen, J. K., & Wagner, R. K. (1999). The comprehensive test of phonological processing (CTOPP). Austin, EEUU: TX: PRO-ED.

Verucci, L., Menghini, D., & Vicari, S. (2006). Reading skills and phonological awareness acquisition in Down syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 50, 477-491. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2006.00793.x

Wagner, R. K., & Torgesen, J. K. (1987). The nature of phonological processing and its causal role in the acquisition of reading skills. Psychological Bulletin, 101(2), 192–212. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.101.2.192

Wilkinson, G. S. (1993). The Wide Range Achievement Test-3 (WRAT-3). Wilmington, EEUU, DE: Wide Range.

Woodcock, R. W. (1987). Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-Revised (WRMT-R). Circle Pines, MN, EEUU: American Guidance Service.

Woodcock, R. W. (1998). Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised-Normative Update (WMRT-R/NU). Circle Pines. MN, EEUU: American Guidance Service.

How to Cite
Puente, A., Alvarado, J. M., Jiménez, V., & Martínez, L. (2017). Reading Profiles in Adolescents with Fragile X Syndrome and Down Syndrome. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 33(3), 660-669.
Developmental and Educational Psychology