Behavior Genetics

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 355–364 | Cite as

Motor Development and Neuropsychological Patterns in Persons with Down Syndrome

  • Stefano Vicari


Neuropsychological research has permitted defining specific cognitive profiles among individuals with mental retardation (MR) of different etiology. Namely, the cognitive profile of people with Down syndrome (DS) is often reported to be characterized by a deficit in language abilities that usually exceed impairments in visual–spatial capacities. However, recent studies have demonstrated a more complex neuropsychological profile in this population, with atypical development in the cognitive and in the linguistic domain. This paper is dedicated to reviewing literature regarding motor, linguistic and cognitive abilities in DS. Our aim is to present evidences supporting the hypothesis that individuals with these syndrome exhibit a peculiar motor development and neuropsychological profile with some abilities more preserved and others more impaired. This finding may have theoretical and practical implications. In fact, a better definition of the cognitive pattern in DS may contribute to understand the nature of MR in general and, also, it may suggests individualized rehabilitation treatment protocols.


Brain development cognition Down syndrome language memory Trisomy 21 



The financial support of Telethon-Italy (Grant No. E.C. 685), of CNR (Grant CNRC002D39_001 “Clinical tools for the identification and the early diagnosis of language disorders in infancy”) and FIRB/MIUR (Grant No. RBNE01SZB4) are gratefully acknowledged. I would like to thank Maria Cristina Caselli, Virginia Volterra and Giovanni Augusto Carlesimo. Their friendly and precious efforts in cooperating in more than 15 years let possible all the studies here reported.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology and RehabilitationInstitute of Research and Clinical Care Bambino Gesù Children HospitalSanta Marinella, RomeItaly
  2. 2.U.O.S. Neurologia e RiabilitazioneIRCCS, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino GesùSanta Marinella, RomeItaly

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