Down Syndrome We have developed a website http://specialededuc3026.wikispaces.com/
The website provides information about • Key characteristics of a child with Down Syndrome • Useful resources • Useful teaching/management strategies • Useful websites with links (references) 5. A copy of this Powerpoint Presentation Wikis are a great tool for Communication! Please use our website as a resource
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS • hypotonia(poor muscle tone) • broad feet with short toes, and a wide space between the big toe and the other toes • broad, flat hands with short fingers, single crease across palm, pinky turns inward • legs and arms are short in relation to the rest of the body • tongue protrudes, mouth is small, and lips are thin • ears are small, abnormally shaped, and set low • fontanels are large • head is small • face is flat • small, white patches can be seen on edge of the iris of the eye • eye slit is narrow and short, fold of skin at inner side of the eye, and the eyes have an upward and outward slant • The child may have weak muscles and the physical characteristics of their chromosomal abnormality, but they will also look a lot like the other members of the family.
Characteristics • Some students may have chronic health needs, others will have occasional needs and most will be as healthy as any other student in your school. • Heart conditions 40% of children with Down syndrome have congenital heart defects, which have been repaired. Most students will be able to participate in all activities without restrictions.
Many students will know far more than they can express due to the tongue being abnormally thick causing problems with articulation • Sensory / Motor Difficulties Some students may have difficulty processing information from many sources at once, doing more than one thing at a time or responding quickly in some situations. They may shut down, become excited or act out when their senses are not working together properly. Some students look “ stubborn” when they are experiencing sensory or motor planning difficulties.
Characteristics of a child with Down Syndrome • Social BehaviouralHow does he/she interact with other people (adults/peers)?There is evidence to support the view that kids with Down syndrome tend to have positive personalities and to be happy, kind, and social, but there is still a range of individual differences (1)
Be aware that children with Down syndrome can be ‘emotional barometers’. Many children with Down syndrome will react to the tone and emotional atmosphere around them.
Communication (syntax ,phonology, morphemes, semantics, pragmatics)Due to the shape of the ear canal children with Down syndrome often have difficulties with their hearing. This proposes many problems within their learning as the vast majority of children acquire language primarily by hearing what is being said by those around them, and good hearing is involved in the development of speech and language as well as socialisation • Using visual cues to indicate activities that are performed everyday often help the student to recognise what is expected of them and also serves as a reminder. The student will also benefit from the modelling of the teacher if the teacher is able to physically demonstrate correct behaviour or perhaps what they require the student to do they is often a bigger chance of the students completing it correctly. • Students with Down syndrome also have difficulty with their articulation. Due to the typical physical characteristic of their tongue being abnormally thick and longer than the average person their ability of pronunciation and articulation is often affected. One of the best strategies to apply to this is to accept both verbal and non-verbal form of communication within the classroom. This allows the students to express what they have learnt but at the same time does not limit because of their difficulties in being able to say what they understand. However in some cases the student would most benefit from speech or language intervention at an early ageStudents may also require intense phonological instruction to improve their ability to discriminate between sounds and to improve their ability to speak with clarity
SensoryHow different senses can affect kids (eg sounds/lights)A child with Down syndrome can have a wide range of problems with sensory issues. Often a child will have many different tactility issues. The skin surface can be too sensitive or not sensitive enough. The child may not sense pain properly (2).
Physical (Fine Motor Skills eg holding a pencil, Gross Motor Skills eg running/jumping, Balance/coordination)-Down syndrome is associated with a high prevalence of cardiac, gastrointestinal, immunological, respiratory, sensory, and orthopaedic anomalies (2).-One of the most important issues that must be addressed with a child with Down Syndrome is that of low muscle tone. This can be seen in the child with floppy joints, slow development in mobility (crawling/walking) and generally weak muscles. It is important that proper developmental steps are followed and at the appropriate time. With appropriate stimulation, weak areas can be improved and corrected and normal structure and function can be achieved. (2).-Mouth breathing desensitizes and thickens the tongue, resulting in oral motor problems with speech and eating.(2)-Because of the tendency towards congestion, special attention should be paid to the hearing. Chronic congestion may result in fluid in the ears that can severely retard development of the auditory pathways to the brain. If a child cannot hear well they cannot develop good speech. (2)-Research indicates that the pattern of motor skill development for individuals with Down syndrome is largely one of delay rather than difference, although attention needs to be given to developing strength and balance, and that they learn most effectively visually, from imitating a model, rather that verbal instruction. (3)-Balance seems to be a particular difficulty relative to progress in general coordination and muscle strength (3)
Cognitive/Intellectual1. Students with Down syndrome often have difficulties with their memory. Students with Down syndrome can often manage and maintain their short term memory but do not have the ability to remember things over a long period of time. • 2. By breaking tasks into smaller steps it is easier for students with Down syndrome to understand and remember what they are required to do. By providing smaller chunks of information for students with down syndrome the teacher is not only able to deliver the appropriate material it also assists them in determining what their students are actually comprehending. • 3. Due to their ability to remember relatively recent thing prior knowledge should be the basis of every lesson. By tapping into their prior knowledge and also allowing the other students to express what they have already learnt the student may be able to recollect what they have already learnt and progress in the lesson with the other students in the class. Also by providing step by step quality instruction at every stage of the lesson students with down syndrome may show more ability to complete set activities than if all instruction was presented at the initiation of the class.4. Students with Down syndrome also often have a problem their attention span within the classroom. By removing distraction and limiting the amount of written information on handouts students ability to remain on task may be increased.5 Also by using authentic situations and concrete hands on material students may be able to complete lesson with little to no interruptions and distractions.
Literacy (recognises letters, phonics connecting letters sounds reading, sequencing of numbers)-Most kids with Down syndrome acquire literacy skills although a great deal of variability exists in the level of achievement obtained (4). Sight word recognition skills are generally considered a relative strength of children with DS, whereas decoding novel words and reading comprehension are often areas of weakness.(4). Buckley and colleagues argued that students with DS progress to alphabetic or phonological reading strategies but do so much later than typically developing children and only once they have acquired a substantial sight vocabulary (4).
Numeracy-Typically, the achievements of individuals with Down Syndrome in number are at a lower level than their achievements in literacy (7) • -Children with Down Syndrome follow similar stages of progression as typically developing children, although often with more steps and practice needed at each stage (8) • -Students with Down Syndrome find arithmetic the most challenging subject, such as questions as ‘If Jane has 8 Apples...’ etc. These questions are hard because they involve remembering and manipulating numerals, words and symbols in the mind and on paper while moving towards a solution (9) • - Much literature have stated that most individuals with Down syndrome do not progress beyond the intellectual capabilities of a normal developing six to eight year old (Kliewer 1993). However, always strive to move the child progressively along the learning continuum, never assume the child isn't capable (10)