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An overview of the development of children with Down syndrome (5-11 years)

Sue Buckley and Ben Sacks

Children with Down syndrome usually make significant progress during their primary school years. In this module, the goals for their development are discussed in the context of the progress in social, academic and personal independence skills that is seen in typically developing children during the period from 5 to 11 years. It is argued that the goals for children with Down syndrome should be age-appropriate and therefore many of the goals should be the same as for other children, although the child with Down syndrome may not achieve quite the same levels of competence in each area. This age period begins with settling into full-time school and it is the start of increasing independence from the family and moving away from the high levels of individual support that preschool children receive, to being able to be part of a group and to cope in the larger social world of the school and community. There is consistent evidence that children with Down syndrome gain significantly from full inclusion in mainstream schools. In particular, they show significant gains in spoken language, reading, writing and arithmetic. These gains will enhance their adult lives - especially the ability to communicate more effectively. However, the special educational needs of the children should be met wherever they are receiving their education and the key needs and appropriate adaptations for teaching and learning are described. Children with Down syndrome will benefit from a partnership between parents, teachers and therapists and specific goals are provided for parents, teachers, speech and language therapists and physical therapists, based on the research into the children's specific profile of needs and into effective interventions.

Buckley SJ, Sacks B. An overview of the development of children with Down syndrome (5-11 years). Down Syndrome Issues and Information. 2001.


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