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Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the LifespanA neuroconstructivist approach$
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Emily K. Farran and Annette Karmiloff-Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199594818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594818.001.0001

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Cognition: The developmental trajectory approach

Cognition: The developmental trajectory approach

(p.13) Chapter 1 Cognition: The developmental trajectory approach
Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan

Michael S. C. Thomas

Harry R. Purser

Jo Van Herwegen

Oxford University Press

One emphasis of this volume is on the use of developmental trajectories in the study of developmental disabilities. This chapter focuses on theoretical, methodological, and analytical issues surrounding trajectories, but it is grounded in examples drawn from one aspect of research on Williams syndrome (WS), that of figurative language development. Figurative language is relevant to everyday communication skills, and it is of theoretical interest because it lies at the interface of language, cognition, and social skills. It therefore brings to the fore issues surrounding the uneven cognitive profile frequently observed in WS. In particular, how the development of figurative language fares in WS is considered, given the apparent strengths in language and social skills whereas the overall IQ indicates moderate levels of learning disability. The methods described are more general, however, and could be applied to a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords:   Williams syndrome, figurative language development, cognitive profile, learning disability, neurodevelopmental disorders

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