Down Syndrome Research and Practice 4(3)
Research on sleep problems and psychological function in children with Down syndrome: Implications for clinical practice and everyday care
Rebecca Stores, and Gregory Stores
Research has been carried out in the last few years on the sleep problems of children with Down syndrome and the associations between these problems, learning, behaviour and family factors. The children studied were generally of school age and attending either mainstream or special schools. The research programme, which has involved a number of novel approaches to these neglected problems, has raised various issues which call for further investigation but the main findings already have implications for the care by both professionals and parents of children with Down syndrome. This account describes in general terms such findings and implications. Further details are available in the selected references provided.
This article looks at partnership and marriage amongst persons with Down syndrome. It does so within the context of a model of quality of life. It is recognised that people with Down syndrome are living longer and if they are to experience wellbeing over their life span then, at the outset to life, parents and professionals must have a concept of this huge change in possibilities and therefore priorities in education, work and social life. The paper provides examples of marriage and partnership and discusses the resources they provide for social and personal growth. If the possibilities of such development are not set at the beginning of life and through the childhood years self-image and opportunities are likely to be denied to a group of people who increasingly have opportunities for extended adult life.
The paper presents an overview, from a personal perspective, of the key research findings of the longitudinal study of the Manchester Down Syndrome Cohort. The study began in 1973 and is currently visiting the families as the young people enter adulthood. At present over 100 families remain in the cohort and provide a representative sample of families of children with Down syndrome in the UK during these years. It is one of the largest and most detailed multifactorial studies in the field of Down syndrome. The overriding impression of the families and their child with Down syndrome is one of normality. The factors that influence the well being of all members are largely the same as those influencing any child or family. The majority of families do not exhibit pathology as a consequence of having a child with Down syndrome. Indeed the evidence points to positive effects for many families when one member has Down syndrome. The results also emphasise the diversity of families and of individuals with Down syndrome. Some families and children with Down syndrome are vulnerable and at risk. The research has begun to identify who these may be and suggest possible directions for more effective support and intervention.
Classroom behaviour, language competence, and the acceptance of children with Down syndrome by their mainstream peers
Glynis Laws, Maura Taylor, Susan Bennie, and Sue Buckley
This study investigated the popularity of children with Down syndrome with their peers in mainstream classrooms using established sociometric techniques. The classroom behaviour of 16 children with Down syndrome aged 8 to 11 years were assessed and the relationship between these behaviours and acceptance investigated. For comparison, the relationship between classroom behaviour and acceptance of 122 typically developing children from the same classes was examined. The majority of the children with Down syndrome were found to enjoy average levels of acceptance in the class. Although behaviour problems were significantly worse in the children with Down syndrome, poor behaviour did not influence the other children to reject them. There was a different picture for typically developing children where there was a strong relationship between behaviour and peer acceptance. Language skills were also assessed for the children with Down syndrome. The children's language skills were not related to their popularity with the other children. Neither problem behaviours nor language difficulties influenced friendships in or out of the classroom for the children with Down syndrome.