November 22, 2011 Features

Internet: Working With Children With Down Syndrome

Listening to the real experts—parents and other advocates for individuals living with Down syndrome—has been the impetus for exploring the resources available online for clinicians working with children and adults with special needs, specifically (but not limited to) Down syndrome. There is so much we can learn listening to the families of people in our caseload!


Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Articulation and Phonology

  • "A Facilitating Technique to Improve Speech Intelligibility in Individuals with Down's Syndrome" by Simalee Smith-Stubblefield and Karen Guidi ( looks at the use of Visual Phonics to improve speech intelligibility in individuals with Down syndrome.
  • The use of the telephone is reported by parents of young adults to be an excellent motivator. A parent of an 18-year-old said that the biggest motivator for working on better articulation is the Dragon Dictation speech-to-text app, downloaded to his iPHONE. Words spoken into the app are typed into text. The parent reported "It's so cool to see him repeating words and really enunciating them to make sure the right thing is typed out so he can text his friends!" According to another parent, when her daughter moved to her own apartment and often had to answer the phone, "this did much more than any speech treatment to improve her vocabulary and articulation and grammar."


A number of articles and brochures address fluency issues in individuals with Down syndrome:

Feeding and Swallowing

Additional resources

Finally, although not all of the articles are freely available online, searching on the key words "Down Syndrome" on SpeechBITE, the Australian Speech Pathology Database for Best Interventions and Treatment Efficacy, uncovers 32 research articles.

Judith Maginnis Kuster, MS, CCC-SLP, is a professor in the Department of Speech, Hearing, and Rehabilitation Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her at An archive of all of Kuster’s columns can be found at change, however, and there is no guarantee that links from previous columns are still functional.

cite as: Kuster, J. M. (2011, November 22). Internet: Working With Children With Down Syndrome. The ASHA Leader.


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