Down Syndrome

According to Sue Buckley, children with Down Syndrome tend to learn to read in much the same way as a typically developing child.  They rely on good visual memory skills, but will frequently have difficulties with learning phonics.

See and Learn is a reading program designed for students with Down Syndrome.  According to their website,  “See and Learn programs offer targeted, evidence-based activities packaged in easy-to-use kits and apps that are designed to support early development for children with Down syndrome.”

Julie Hughes, a speech and language specialist from the Down Syndrome Educational Trust in the United Kingdom wrote an article titled, “Teaching Reading Skills to Children with Down Syndrome”.  She states, “Working memory difficulties may also contribute to the speech and language delays that children with Down syndrome often face, limiting the amount that a child can organise and say clearly in a sentence. Reading provides opportunities to practice saying sentences that a child is unable to generate spontaneously even through he or she understands them. When children are reading aloud, the sentence is organized for them and the print is available without having to remember it, so the demands on the working memory system are reduced and its capacity can be used to plan and articulate each word more clearly.”

The Down Syndrome Research Foundation of Canada posted a video on YouTube called, “Successful Strategies for Beginning Readers with Down Syndrome.  It’s rather long, nearly half an hour, but well worth the watch if you are working on reading with a child with Down syndrome.

Buckley, S.J. (2001). Reading and writing for individuals with Down syndrome – An      overview. Down Syndrome Issues and Information.

Hughes, J. (2006). Teaching reading skills to children with Down syndrome.  Down Syndrome News and Update, 6(2), 62-65.  Written for http://www.ican.org.uk/

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