Evidence shows that neurotypical individuals who stutter use fewer gestures than those who do not stutter. Presently, no research exists about the interaction of stuttering and gestures in individuals with Down syndrome.
Twenty-nine individuals with Down syndrome (7–19 years) of whom 16 stuttered and 13 spoke fluently and 20 neurotypical children (3–10 years) of whom 8 stuttered and 12 spoke fluently participated in this study. In spontaneous speech transcriptions, stuttering events and gestures were coded.
Comparisons of gesture frequency during stuttered and fluent speech inside the Down syndrome and neurotypical group show that the Down syndrome group uses significantly more gestures during stuttered than during fluent speech while no significant difference is seen in the neurotypical group.
There is some preliminary evidence that individuals with Down syndrome try to compensate for their stuttering events, however, analyses on word level are necessary to confirm a successful compensation.