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Number skills for children with Down syndrome (5-11 years)

Gillian Bird and Sue Buckley

Children and adults with Down syndrome vary widely in their interest and achievements in number skills and mathematics. There is only a small amount of research in the area and little that provides guidance for effective teaching methods and materials. Typically, the achievements of individuals with Down syndrome in number are at a lower level than their achievements in literacy. However, there is a wide range of progress and while some children find number difficult, other children with Down syndrome enjoy mathematics. When a child is interested, motivated and taught well, he or she may achieve at an age appropriate level in primary school. Research findings indicate that good teaching, using their visual learning strengths, promotes learning and that children with Down syndrome follow the same stages of progression as typically developing children, although often with more steps and practice needed at each stage. This module describes the steps in learning about number so that children with Down syndrome can receive sufficient teaching and practice for learning these skills while they are at primary school. It also includes examples of children's work and achievements. After the basic skills have been mastered, a selection of activities for learning more advanced skills are described. Inclusion in the mathematics curriculum and the necessity for language teaching are emphasised. This module links with the overview module which presents and discusses the research on number for children with Down syndrome and the implications for teaching and learning.

Bird G, Buckley SJ. Number skills for children with Down syndrome (5-11 years). Down Syndrome Issues and Information. 2001.


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See and Learn Numbers is designed to help parents and educators teach children with Down syndrome basic number skills and concepts.

See and Learn Numbers is designed to teach young children to count, to link numbers to quantity, to understand important concepts about the number system and to calculate with numbers up to 10.

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