NEW online training courses from DSE. On-demand expert training for educators and parents. Find out more...

Case Studies

Original reports of clinical observations and small intervention trials.

Strategies to address challenging behaviour

For many parents, researchers, and practitioners familiar with children with Down syndrome, challenging behaviour is a common occurrence. There is substantial empirical research demonstrating the effective use of behaviourally based procedures to assess and intervene on challenging behaviour in individuals with developmental disabilities (across the ages). However, close examination of the behavioural intervention literature reveals relatively few applications with children with Down syndrome and even fewer applications targeting the specific and characteristic challenges presented by these children.

In this paper, Kathleen Feeley and Emily Jones describe five case studies that reflect commonly occurring challenging behaviours among children with Down syndrome and show how a variety of intervention strategies were used to successfully modify the behaviours.

Teaching spontaneous responses to a young child with Down syndrome

Children with Down syndrome experience significant impairments in communication across a range of skills including articulation, morphology, syntax, and semantics. While both receptive and expressive language are specifically impaired, the expressive language of children with Down syndrome lags further behind their receptive capabilities, affecting interactions with family, peers, and community members.

An area of expressive language in children with Down syndrome receiving little attention in the literature is spontaneity. Nonverbal stimuli to which children emit spontaneous utterances do not include explicit adult vocalisations, rather the important features may include nonvocal components (e.g., a bird flying) or the action of another person (e.g., presenting a new toy).

Researchers have addressed spontaneity in children with autism (for whom spontaneity is often impaired) using intensive intervention procedures (in which multiple teaching opportunities were presented in close proximity with unrelated reinforcers delivered for correct responding). In this Case Study, Kathleen Feeley and Emily Jones examine an intensive behavioural intervention to teach spontaneous responses to a child with Down syndrome.

New from DSE: See and Learn Speech

See and Learn Speech is designed to help parents and educators support children with Down syndrome to develop clearer speech.

See and Learn Speech offers a structured approach to support speech development, working in small steps towards clearer speech production.

Now available as teaching kits and apps.

Find out more...