Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaching Tuesday: Learning and Down syndrome (31 for 21, Day 16)

Children with Down syndrome learn differently than their 'typical' peers.   Most of this can be attributed to the developmental and structural changes created by Trisomy 21.  Today's Teaching Tuesday is dedicated to how children with Down syndrome learn.

The overall development of the child with Down syndrome:
  • Can be viewed two ways:  as a "delay" or slowing of normal development or a separate, different method of learning all together
  • Includes most of the usual childhood skills, however these generally occur later than with typical children

Factors that impact learning/commitment to teaching include:
  • High initial failure rates (time to learn new skills extended)
  • Language and communication problems in Down syndrome
  • Possible difficulties reading social cues
  • Lower expectations compared to typical children (including stereotype of happy, docile, yet dull witted children)
  • Old or outdated information re: Down syndrome (such as believing life span only 30 years, etc)
  • Not understanding the benefits of inclusion beyond social and emotional development
  • Adopting counterproductive leaning strategies (such as increasingly relying on others, a resistance to trying new and more difficult things)

Children with DS typically:
  • Have strong interactive skills from early months
  • Have a delay in motor skills
  • Become mobile and independent with self-help skills
  • Have delays in speech and language
  • Understand and reason more than can be effectively communicated
  • Have short term memory impairments
  • Are visual learners (and learn to read early due to this)
  • Have more difficulty with numbers compared to reading
  • Are less likely to develop difficult behaviours than other children with cognitive delays 
  • Have an increased risk of visual and auditory impairments which would impact ability to learn

Strategies to enhance learning for those with DS include:
  • Being aware of and assisting with any physical differences such as with vision and hearing.  
  • Any communication systems (such as devices or sign language) that are used should be familiar to everyone
  • Using verbal cues and visual supports.
  • Limiting distractions
  • Providing comfort:  being aware of sensory, physical or size issues
  • Using adaptive materials (such a specialized scissors, pull tabs for zippers, etc)

Buckley SJ, Sacks B. An overview of the development of infants with Down syndrome (0-5 years). Down Syndrome Issues and Information. 2001. 

Johnson, Carol. "Teaching Students with Down Syndrome." Canadian Down Syndrome Society. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.cdss.ca/>.

Wishart JG. Motivation and learning styles in young children with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Research and Practice. 2001;7(2);47-51.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment.

Although discussion is encouraged, disrespectful or hurtful dialogue will be removed.

Spam will be fried up with a side of tomatoes.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...