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!
- "Speech and Language Development for Infants with Down Syndrome (0-5)" by Sue Buckley and Lillian Bird, offers an extensive program of activities and advice designed to assist the development of speech and language skills for children with Down syndrome.
- See and Learn offers step-by-step, illustrated activities designed to promote the development of language, reading, speech, memory, and number skills. Check especially the free downloads of language and reading resources.
- "A Multicultural/Bilingual Mainstreaming Day Care Program for Young Children with Mild to Moderate Disabilities" [PDF] by Beatrice de al Brosse, is a 101-page document describing "basic considerations in developing services for mildly and moderately developmentally handicapped young children in a mainstreamed, multicultural/bilingual day care setting."
- Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County's Learning Program offers free literacy materials and daily activity guides.
- Jon Miller's "Language and Communication Characteristics of Children with Down Syndrome" has an extensive, if dated bibliography (Chapter 9, 233–262), excerpted with permission from New Perspectives on Down Syndrome.
- James D. MacDonald's "Down Syndrome and Learning to Talk," a National Down Syndrome Congress 1997 convention handout, offers answers to frequently asked questions about language acquisition.
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 (www.riverbendds.org/visualphonics.html) 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
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.