Down Syndrome Research and Practice 5(1)
Phil Foreman, and Geoff Crews
This paper reports the use of two forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with young children with Down syndrome: a program using signing (Makaton), and the COMPIC system of computerised pictographs. Children with Down syndrome are frequently reported to have difficulties in the area of language and communication, with relative strengths in visual and perceptual areas. This suggests possible benefits from the use of AAC systems to enhance language development. The paper discusses the use of AAC systems to assist young children with Down syndrome, and reports an experimental study of the use of such systems with an object naming task.
This paper outlines the risk of mental health disorders in adults with Down syndrome and considers the practical ways in which positive well-being can be promoted. It emphasises that prevention begins at birth and parents need to be alerted to positive child-rearing strategies from infancy.
Elisabetta Monari Martinez
This paper deals with the adaptation of an algebra curriculum for two students with Down syndrome who were included in High School. Since the kindergarten, this boy and girl have been fully included in general education classes. This paper examines the rationale for this choice on an algebra program. The adaptation of this program was easy because all that was required was to shorten it and do some additional steps in teaching (a little bit more than in a remedial course). Also, visual prompts were provided to the students. The boy needed a calculator all the time. Both of the students learned to calculate algebraic expressions with parenthesis, with positive and negative numbers and even with powers. The boy was able to do algebraic sum of monomials. The girl performed expressions with fractions. They took written and oral tests at the same time as their classmates, but with different exercises or questions. The girl was able to do some mental arithmetic. Often she was more consistent and careful than her typical classmates. The boy had problems with the integration and he did not attend the school full time. The inclusion, even when it was not perfect, provided the motivation to teach and to learn. In both cases, the crucial point was the daily collaboration of the mathematics teacher with the special educator. Both of the students enjoyed the mathematics program, as many typical students do. Mathematics gave them the fulfilling emotion of succeeding!
Teaching basic skills to children with Down Syndrome and developmental delays: The relative efficacy of interactive modeling with social rewards for benchmark achievements and passive observation
Gerald Biederman, Fairhall, Raven, and Valerie Davey
In interventions attempting to remediate deficiencies in the skills repertoire of developmentally delayed children, no less than in medical interventions, it may be fairly said that less is more. That is, the instructor should intervene as little as possible both from the perspective of efficient instructional practice and from time allotment concerns which modern classrooms face. Evidence from this laboratory has indicated that in skills training for children with severe developmental delays the passive observation of a model demonstrating the target skill is more effective than interactive modeling involving hand-over-hand instruction with verbal prompting. We have considered the role of verbal prompting in interactive modeling and have found that prompts intended to provide typical social reinforcers are counterproductive (e.g. Biederman, Davey, Ryder, & Franchi, 1994). The present study examines the efficacy of hand-over-hand modeling with response-contingent verbal prompts. In such instruction, tasks are divided into identifiable sequential components, and the achievement of each component is marked by the delivery of some form of verbal prompt. In a within-subjects design, children were trained in one skill with response-contingent verbal prompts and in a second skill with simple passive observation. A separate group of children were trained with less rigorous verbal prompting in one skill and with passive observation in a second. Consistent with previous research, we found that passive modeling was overall significantly more effective than hand-over-hand modeling and moreover that passive modeling was significantly more effective than hand-over-hand modeling with response-contingent prompting. Our evidence therefore indicates that current classroom practice in training basic skills to children with severe developmental delays may require reassessment in that simple observation of modeled skills appears to be more effective than more labor-intensive instruction.
The Effects of Quality Life Models on the Development of Research and Practice in the field of Down Syndrome
The paper summarises the development of recent developments in relation to Quality of Life models in the field of intellectual disability. The information is applied to the development of professional practice and research. As examples, a series of research studies on Down syndrome are briefly described.
Conclusions of The 6th World Congress on Down Syndrome as presented at the closing session of the Congress held in Madrid, 23rd-26th October, 1997
Recent studies of exceptional language development and functioning in mentally retarded people raise questions regarding basic issues in language disorders. These studies are summarised and their implications discussed. Possible reasons for the existence of such cases are examined including language training, general cognitive functioning, working memory, cerebral dominance, and deep-seated variation at brain level.