Fetal alcohol syndrome: a description of oral motor, articulatory, short-term memory, grammatical, and semantic abilities

J Commun Disord. 1990 Apr;23(2):97-124. doi: 10.1016/0021-9924(90)90016-r.


Formal communication skills assessments were completed on eight children with diagnosed forms of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) ages four and one-half to nine and one-half years. Non-FAS children ages three and one-half to six and one-half years matched for ethnic background, living situation, and nonverbal cognitive ability served as controls. All but one of the FAS subjects demonstrated abnormalities of the speech mechanism within at least one major valve along the vocal tract. Mental age inconsistent articulation abilities were found in three FAS subjects when matched for nonverbal cognitive ability. The FAS children exhibited mental age inconsistent abilities in the comprehension and use of grammatical markers both in repetition and in spontaneous language tasks. Further, the FAS subjects also demonstrated reduced capacity to process and store critical elements when compared with non-FAS children. Clinical implications for the assessment of children with FAS are outlined.

MeSH terms

  • Articulation Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dysarthria / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Tests
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Semantics*
  • Speech Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Speech Production Measurement