Speech‐language profiles in the context of cognitive and adaptive functioning inSATB2‐associated syndrome

Snijders Blok, L., Goosen, Y. M., Haaften, L., Hulst, K., Fisher, S. E., Brunner, H. G., Egger, J. I. M., & Kleefstra, T. (2021). Speech‐language profiles in the context of cognitive and adaptive functioning inSATB2‐associated syndrome. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 20(7): e12761. doi:10.1111/gbb.12761.
SATB2-associated syndrome (SAS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by heterozygous pathogenic variants in the SATB2 gene, and is typically characterized by intellectual disability and severely impaired communication skills. The goal of this study was to contribute to the understanding of speech and language impairments in SAS, in the context of general developmental skills and cognitive and adaptive functioning. We performed detailed oral motor, speech and language profiling in combination with neuropsychological assessments in 23 individuals with a molecularly confirmed SAS diagnosis: 11 primarily verbal individuals and 12 primarily nonverbal individuals, independent of their ages. All individuals had severe receptive language delays. For all verbal individuals, we were able to define underlying speech conditions. While childhood apraxia of speech was most prevalent, oral motor problems appeared frequent as well and were more present in the nonverbal group than in the verbal group. For seven individuals, age-appropriate Wechsler indices could be derived, showing that the level of intellectual functioning of these individuals varied from moderate–mild ID to mild ID-borderline intellectual functioning. Assessments of adaptive functioning with the Vineland Screener showed relatively high scores on the domain “daily functioning” and relatively low scores on the domain “communication” in most individuals. Altogether, this study provides a detailed delineation of oral motor, speech and language skills and neuropsychological functioning in individuals with SAS, and can provide families and caregivers with information to guide diagnosis, management and treatment approaches.
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