Visuo-spatial ability in individuals with Down syndrome

Is it really a strength?

Jennifer Yang, Frances A. Conners, Edward C. Merrill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Down syndrome (DS) is associated with extreme difficulty in verbal skills and relatively better visuo-spatial skills. Indeed, visuo-spatial ability is often considered a strength in DS. However, it is not clear whether this strength is only relative to the poor verbal skills, or, more impressively, relative to cognitive ability in general. To answer this question, we conducted an extensive literature review of studies on visuo-spatial abilities in people with Down syndrome from January 1987 to May 2013. Based on a general taxonomy of spatial abilities patterned after Lohman, Pellegrino, Alderton, and Regian (1987) and Carroll (1993) and existing studies of DS, we included five different domains of spatial abilities - visuo-spatial memory, visuo-spatial construction, mental rotation, closure, and wayfinding. We evaluated a total of 49 studies including 127 different comparisons. Most comparisons involved a group with DS vs. a group with typical development matched on mental age and compared on a task measuring one of the five visuo-spatial abilities. Although further research is needed for firm conclusions on some visuo-spatial abilities, there was no evidence that visuo-spatial ability is a strength in DS relative to general cognitive ability. Rather, the review suggests an uneven profile of visuo-spatial abilities in DS in which some abilities are commensurate with general cognitive ability level, and others are below.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1500
Number of pages28
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume35
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Fingerprint

Down Syndrome
Aptitude
Spatial Navigation
Research

Keywords

  • Closure
  • Down syndrome
  • Mental rotation
  • Review
  • Spatial memory
  • Visuo-spatial ability
  • Visuo-spatial construction
  • Wayfinding

Cite this

Yang, Jennifer ; Conners, Frances A. ; Merrill, Edward C. / Visuo-spatial ability in individuals with Down syndrome : Is it really a strength?. In: Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2014 ; Vol. 35, No. 7. pp. 1473-1500.
@article{f696e48ba5ff4a0f935ae1809c092572,
title = "Visuo-spatial ability in individuals with Down syndrome: Is it really a strength?",
abstract = "Down syndrome (DS) is associated with extreme difficulty in verbal skills and relatively better visuo-spatial skills. Indeed, visuo-spatial ability is often considered a strength in DS. However, it is not clear whether this strength is only relative to the poor verbal skills, or, more impressively, relative to cognitive ability in general. To answer this question, we conducted an extensive literature review of studies on visuo-spatial abilities in people with Down syndrome from January 1987 to May 2013. Based on a general taxonomy of spatial abilities patterned after Lohman, Pellegrino, Alderton, and Regian (1987) and Carroll (1993) and existing studies of DS, we included five different domains of spatial abilities - visuo-spatial memory, visuo-spatial construction, mental rotation, closure, and wayfinding. We evaluated a total of 49 studies including 127 different comparisons. Most comparisons involved a group with DS vs. a group with typical development matched on mental age and compared on a task measuring one of the five visuo-spatial abilities. Although further research is needed for firm conclusions on some visuo-spatial abilities, there was no evidence that visuo-spatial ability is a strength in DS relative to general cognitive ability. Rather, the review suggests an uneven profile of visuo-spatial abilities in DS in which some abilities are commensurate with general cognitive ability level, and others are below.",
keywords = "Closure, Down syndrome, Mental rotation, Review, Spatial memory, Visuo-spatial ability, Visuo-spatial construction, Wayfinding",
author = "Jennifer Yang and Conners, {Frances A.} and Merrill, {Edward C.}",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.ridd.2014.04.002",
language = "English",
volume = "35",
pages = "1473--1500",
journal = "Research in Developmental Disabilities",
issn = "0891-4222",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",
number = "7",

}

Visuo-spatial ability in individuals with Down syndrome : Is it really a strength? / Yang, Jennifer; Conners, Frances A.; Merrill, Edward C.

In: Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 35, No. 7, 01.01.2014, p. 1473-1500.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Visuo-spatial ability in individuals with Down syndrome

T2 - Is it really a strength?

AU - Yang, Jennifer

AU - Conners, Frances A.

AU - Merrill, Edward C.

PY - 2014/1/1

Y1 - 2014/1/1

N2 - Down syndrome (DS) is associated with extreme difficulty in verbal skills and relatively better visuo-spatial skills. Indeed, visuo-spatial ability is often considered a strength in DS. However, it is not clear whether this strength is only relative to the poor verbal skills, or, more impressively, relative to cognitive ability in general. To answer this question, we conducted an extensive literature review of studies on visuo-spatial abilities in people with Down syndrome from January 1987 to May 2013. Based on a general taxonomy of spatial abilities patterned after Lohman, Pellegrino, Alderton, and Regian (1987) and Carroll (1993) and existing studies of DS, we included five different domains of spatial abilities - visuo-spatial memory, visuo-spatial construction, mental rotation, closure, and wayfinding. We evaluated a total of 49 studies including 127 different comparisons. Most comparisons involved a group with DS vs. a group with typical development matched on mental age and compared on a task measuring one of the five visuo-spatial abilities. Although further research is needed for firm conclusions on some visuo-spatial abilities, there was no evidence that visuo-spatial ability is a strength in DS relative to general cognitive ability. Rather, the review suggests an uneven profile of visuo-spatial abilities in DS in which some abilities are commensurate with general cognitive ability level, and others are below.

AB - Down syndrome (DS) is associated with extreme difficulty in verbal skills and relatively better visuo-spatial skills. Indeed, visuo-spatial ability is often considered a strength in DS. However, it is not clear whether this strength is only relative to the poor verbal skills, or, more impressively, relative to cognitive ability in general. To answer this question, we conducted an extensive literature review of studies on visuo-spatial abilities in people with Down syndrome from January 1987 to May 2013. Based on a general taxonomy of spatial abilities patterned after Lohman, Pellegrino, Alderton, and Regian (1987) and Carroll (1993) and existing studies of DS, we included five different domains of spatial abilities - visuo-spatial memory, visuo-spatial construction, mental rotation, closure, and wayfinding. We evaluated a total of 49 studies including 127 different comparisons. Most comparisons involved a group with DS vs. a group with typical development matched on mental age and compared on a task measuring one of the five visuo-spatial abilities. Although further research is needed for firm conclusions on some visuo-spatial abilities, there was no evidence that visuo-spatial ability is a strength in DS relative to general cognitive ability. Rather, the review suggests an uneven profile of visuo-spatial abilities in DS in which some abilities are commensurate with general cognitive ability level, and others are below.

KW - Closure

KW - Down syndrome

KW - Mental rotation

KW - Review

KW - Spatial memory

KW - Visuo-spatial ability

KW - Visuo-spatial construction

KW - Wayfinding

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84898995539&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.04.002

DO - 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.04.002

M3 - Review article

VL - 35

SP - 1473

EP - 1500

JO - Research in Developmental Disabilities

JF - Research in Developmental Disabilities

SN - 0891-4222

IS - 7

ER -