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Cognitive and social factors in the development of infants with Down Syndrome

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Infants and young children with Down syndrome can be engaging and affectionate. It seems that in the early months of life their personal relations may be relatively 'spared' the effects of limitations in their capacities for information-processing. Yet how far is this the case as development proceeds? In this paper we discuss some ways in which social and cognitive development interact and mutually influence one another over the first year or so of life, and present preliminary findings from a longitudinal study of infants with and without Down syndrome. The evidence suggests that the development of 'triadic'(person-person-world) social interactions may be affected by limited information-processing capacities in infants with Down syndrome, through a complex socially-mediated developmental trajectory.

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