Education and Down Syndrome: Methods and Strategies
There are many different types of learners all over the world. In certain cases, the learner has a disability whether from birth or incident. Today, Faculti Media discusses learners with Down syndrome.
What is Down syndrome?
In medical terms, it is a chromosomal disorder wherein the person who has the disorder developed an extra 21st chromosome. A usual result would be impaired cognitive and behavioral development. The range of the impairment can vary from mild to extreme. While it is possible to diagnose Down syndrome while the child is in the womb, it can also go undetected until the child is born.
As there is an impairment of cognitive development, it is wholly understandable that learning ability of a person with Down syndrome is also affected. When this occurs, extra care and effort is required in their education. It can be difficult but it is wholly rewarding.
Today, we take a look at some methods and strategies on how to tackle special education.
Learners with Down syndrome often respond well to visual cues. This must be taken into account when establishing their learning space. Make use of colors and big bold letters that mark the space for learning.
If you are going to start teaching them, it would be important to make use of many visual aids. Make them attention grabbing and pleasant. They should be indicative of what lesson is being taught. Often, the concepts of the lessons can be difficult in coming. However, with the proper utilization of visual aids like colorful characters with clear emotional determiners, learning is completely achievable.
Keep the visuals simple as to not to overwhelm the learner. Too cluttered visual space can end up confusing the learner. There has been some discussion as to whether or not reading comes sooner or later for learners with Down syndrome. However, reading words often comes quite well to them.
When you plan your visuals place written word representations that correspond to the names of the things being used around the classroom. This will help them to closely associate the name of the object with the object itself. Visual cues can help the improvement and development of retention.
When teaching someone with Down syndrome, it is important to keep in mind that they respond better to social interactions. This is why the concept of inclusivity is so important to those with Down. Engage them appropriately and encourage them to respond in kind.
Always speak directly to them in a clear and concise voice. Do not make use of long sentences. Economize your words. If there is anything that you can say in around six words or less, the better! Utilize your facial expressions to make sure that they can see what you are feeling.
In your lessons, utilize exercises that give them an opportunity to interact with the materials. Once again, remember to utilize visual cues in developing your materials. If you can make your materials bright and unambiguous, do so.
Those with Down syndrome will need some time to process all of the information that they are being given. It may not even stick for first several attempts. What is important is that your reign in your frustrations and facial expressions.
The learning environment must be a positive one that promotes growth for all involved. You cannot help a flower bloom if you stand there glaring at the seed for not growing fast enough. Even if you do not have a disability, learning takes time. Patience is not just a virtue in this scenario; it is a critically necessary thing.
Make it Social
Learners often absorb lessons better in a group setting. This also dissuades from the development of an over dependency of the learner on the educator. Learners with Down syndrome are typically known for their good social capabilities.
Putting them in a social setting will help them learn and slowly develop their own social cues.
Learners with Down syndrome may have triggers that can send them into an outburst. It is important to carefully take note of what upsets them and keep it out of sight until they have developed enough to tackle it on.
When there is more than one learner, give them space but watch them closely. It is important that the educator be on a heightened sense of awareness whenever the learners are about. This is to ensure that their needs are being met appropriately and that they do not pose any harm to themselves or others.
This is something that most people do not want to address but we are telling you this head on. Each learner will have their own developmental profile. It is important that the educator be aware of each learner’s profile. This can help the educator adjust the lessons or exercises accordingly.
The developmental profile will also include the motivations of the learner. The educator can make use of this to plan which activities are best suited to a particular learner.
There is a significant amount of learners with Down syndrome that have language delays. This can make it difficult for them to express what they want verbally. Having your lessons with an emphasis on phonetics can help stimulate the mind of the learners toward full words and expressions.
Down syndrome is no longer the horrible thing that they used to refer to it as. Many learners with Down syndrome go on to lead full and successful lives. The world is changing to a better and more inclusive one so more and more opportunities for people with disabilities are being made available.
What is important that early on in their lives is that they get the necessary help that they need in order to learn what they will require to function independently. Whenever it gets a tad difficult, it is always important to remember that they did not ask to be born with Down syndrome. It is a genetic anomaly that could have happened to anyone.