BACKGROUND: Infants learn how to regulate internal states and subsequent behavior through dyadic interactions with caregivers. During infant-directed (ID) singing, mothers help infants practice attentional control and arousal modulation, thus providing critical experience in self-regulation. Infants with Down syndrome are known to have attention deficits and delayed information processing as well as difficulty managing arousability, factors that may disrupt their efforts at self-regulation.
OBJECTIVE: The researcher explored responses to ID singing in infants with Down syndrome (DS) and compared them with those of typically developing (TD) infants. Behaviors measured included infant gaze and affect as indicators of self-regulation.
METHODS: Participants included 3- to 9-month-old infants with and without DS who were videotaped throughout a 2-minute face-to-face interaction during which their mothers sang to them any song(s) of their choosing. Infant behavior was then coded for percentage of time spent demonstrating a specific gaze or affect type.
RESULTS: All infants displayed sustained gaze more than any other gaze type. TD infants demonstrated intermittent gaze significantly more often than infants with DS. Infant status had no effect on affect type, and all infants showed predominantly neutral affect.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that ID singing effectively maintains infant attention for both TD infants and infants with DS. However, infants with DS may have difficulty shifting attention during ID singing as needed to adjust arousal levels and self-regulate. High levels of neutral affect for all infants imply that ID singing is likely to promote a calm, curious state, regardless of infant status.
- Down syndrome
- infant-directed singing
ASJC Scopus subject areas