Core neuropsychological characteristics of children and adolescents with 22q11.2 deletion

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Background The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22qDS) confers high risk for intellectual disability and neuropsychological/academic impairment, although a minority of patients show average intelligence. Intellectual heterogeneity and the high prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in earlier studies may have obscured the prototypical neuropsychological profile in 22qDS.

Methods We examined intelligence, memory, reading and mathematical processes in 31 children/adolescents with 22qDS, selected for educational underachievement and an absence of psychiatric diagnoses, using standardised, psychometrically matched instruments that specify how typical a score is for a given intelligence quotient (IQ).

Results Corroborating earlier findings, verbal IQ was significantly superior to performance IQ; verbal memory and basic reading were relative strengths; and visual/spatial memory was a relative weakness. All four findings transcended performance characteristics that are typical of low-IQ individuals. Rote learning yielded the highest score; reading comprehension, numerical operations and mathematical reasoning were among the lowest-performed academic domains. Albeit in the expected direction, performance in the respective components could not be clearly differentiated from what is IQ-appropriate.

Conclusions A superiority of verbal intelligence over non-verbal intelligence, relative strengths in verbal memory and basic reading, and a relative weakness in visual/spatial memory are likely to be core characteristics of children/adolescents with 22qDS, transcending performance features that are typical of individuals with low IQ.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701 - 713
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number8
Early online date17 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


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