Shared book reading with young pre-school children with Down syndrome

This project is exploring parent-child interactions and language boosting behaviours during shared book reading between parents and young children with Down syndrome.

Shared book reading is known to be one way of increasing children’s language learning and this study is investigating how parents engage in shared book reading with young children with Down syndrome compared with parents of typical children at a similar language level. The aims are

  • analysing the characteristics of shared book reading interactions between young pre-school children with Down syndrome and their parents compared with chronological age and receptive language matched typically developing children and their parents
  • co-creating with parents an interactive shared book reading intervention and training package for 2-4 year old children with Down syndrome
  • conducting a small-scale case series to test the acceptability and potential of the intervention and training package for enhancing child language and communication.

The study started in 2022 and is in its early stages. The preliminary findings for eleven children with Down syndrome, aged 12-48 months, are being presented at the 2024 Down Syndrome Research Forum.

These indicate that parental responsivity and child attention and initiation are positively correlated within this group. We also find that parents of children with lower vocabulary skills tend to adopt less interactive behaviours such as reciprocal exchanges and read more directly from the book.

The next stages of this study will provide further information on any differences between children with Down syndrome and typically developing children and lead to guidance for parents on how to gain maximum benefit from shared book reading.

Partners

  • University of Reading
  • University of Manchester
  • Down Syndrome Education International

Funding

References

  • Jeremic M, Stojanovik V, Burgoyne K and Pagnamenta E (2023) Shared book reading as a context for language intervention for children with Down syndrome: a mini-review. Front. Psychol. 14:1176218. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1176218
  • Jeremic, M., Stojanovik, V., Burgoyne, K., Buckley, S.& Pagnamenta, E. (2024) Shared book reading with young pre-school children with Down syndrome: exploring parent-child interactions and language boosting behaviours. Paper presented at the Down Syndrome Research Forum, 25-26 April, UK. Abstract Session 5, Shared Book Reading (down-syndrome.org)