Developmental trajectories of children with Down syndrome by socio-economic status: the case of Latin America

P. S. Arango, A. Aparicio, M. Tenorio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Abstract: Background: Several studies show that socio-economic status (SES) is related to the developmental trajectories of children with typical development (TD). However, few studies have analysed this relationship regarding children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Down syndrome (DS). In this paper, we analyse the impact of SES in the neurodevelopmental trajectories of children with DS in comparison with children with TD. Method: Cognitive, language, motor and socio-emotional development were assessed in 31 children with DS between the ages of 15 and 80 months from high to low SES backgrounds. Data from this group were compared with data from a sample of 72 children with TD randomly selected from the Longitudinal Survey of Early Childhood. We analyse and compare these two groups using the developmental trajectories method. Results: The results show delayed onsets for the four abilities measured in children with DS compared with children with TD from high to low SES. In the comparison of the developmental trajectories, we found that the differences between the neurodevelopmental trajectories in DS and TD vary according to SES. High SES show differences only in language development, while low SES show significant differences in cognitive, language and socio-emotional development. Conclusions: The results indicate that SES is a factor that could impact the developmental trajectories of children with DS. Although the differences between children with DS and with TD are similar at the beginning regardless of SES, the developmental trajectories are slower in children with DS of low SES than in children of high SES. We argue that the differences are related to the complex interaction of several biological and cultural factors associated with SES. Some specific hypotheses about nutrition, health care access, quality of education and parenting practices are presented, but more research in this area is needed to fully understand these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-774
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), via FONDECYT 11150800. A. Aparicio is funded by CONICYT-PFCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2017-21171628.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Down syndrome
  • developmental trajectories
  • socio-economic status


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