Beyond the Literal Meaning of Words in Children Who Are XXY

Abstract: Literature on children with Klinefelter Syndrome (KS) points to general linguistic difficulties in both comprehension and production among other cognitive functions, and in the majority of cases, these coexist with an intellectual level within the norms. In these conditions, children having language delay generally engage in language therapy and are systematically monitored across ages. In this article, we present the profiles of two children with KS (47, XXY), aged 9.1 (Child S) and 13 (Child D), whose language development was assessed as adequate at age 3, and for this reason, did not receive any language treatment. At the present stage, their IQ, as measured by Wechsler
Scales (Child S: 92; Child D: 101), is within the norm, but they both present marked weaknesses in pragmatic skills such as figurative language comprehension. The analysis of these two cases points to the need to go beyond global indexes of verbal abilities, as the same global index may mask a wide diversification of individual profiles. In addition, this study underlines the importance of monitoring the developmental trajectories of children like Child D and Child S, because weaknesses in pragmatic skills that are relevant for both academic achievement and social adaptation could emerge at later stages.