Family support, education and healthcare in practice.
Helping children with Down syndrome express themselves
In their article, The voice of the child with Down syndrome, Julie Hooton
and Anna Westaway describe a multi-agency project which aimed to remove barriers
and push boundaries associated with the reduced ability to verbalise. The project
planned to give every child with Down syndrome in mainstream schooling in the county
the chance to express themselves in an alternative way and to chart visually their
own judgement of progress, enabling them to contribute in a personally meaningful
and accurate way to their annual review process and beyond.
Handling the transfer to secondary school
The transfer to secondary education can be an anxious time and planning ahead can
help. In her article, Elaine Bull offers practical advice based on her personal
experiences about what to consider and when to start planning. It also discusses
many of the issues involved in the transition to later schooling. Whilst written
from the perspective of the English school system, many of the issues and principles
are broadly applicable to school transfers at around 10-12 years of age in other
Special at school but lonely at home
After a decade of inclusion and structured school programmes to facilitate friendships,
many parents report that peer relationships end after school hours. In this Practice
article, Jeanne D'Haem outlines specific methods to establish a successful friendship
group and discusses her recent study comparing the effectiveness of two different
types of approaches to encouraging friendships for adolescents with Down syndrome
- school based friendship groups and a mixed age home based group. The study found
that school based friendship groups of adolescent peers were not successful in developing
friendships for individuals with Down syndrome. When a multi-age group was conducted
outside of the school, friendships formed and have continued for over two years.
This article describes how and why parents and professionals should look beyond
school based same age peer friendship groups and consider a community circle of
Sam's progress with learning mathematics
Sam is 18 years old and has Down syndrome. He achieved a grade in the standard assessment
of mathematics (GCSE) at 16 years of age. This paper by Lynne Haslam describes the
part played in his success in school by the Kumon method of teaching mathematics,
identifies the benefits of the small steps and lots of practice built in to the
method and illustrates the way Sam applied his Kumon learning in school.
Katrina's progress with learning mathematics
Katrina is 10 years old and has Down syndrome. She is making good progress with
learning and numbers and mathematics. In this article, her parents describe how
Katrina has learned number concepts and arithmetic skills over several years. They
highlight the influence of early learning habits, visual supports, motivation and
practice, and the uses made of different number teaching schemes.