While children with Down Syndrome do experience learning challenges in regular classrooms, the good news is that they can reach their potential with specific teaching strategies that align with their learning strengths.
The discussion about teaching phonics or not misses the heart of the problem. Of course children need to learn phonics. The real issue is HOW we teach children to read. There are ways of teaching that create a flash of understanding in the child's mind, an ease of learning, an indelible memory created. Imagine what would happen, how our students' experience in school would be transformed, if we prioritized facilitating this "ease of learning." Here are 6 strategies to use.
A person's dominant hemisphere is the one that processes incoming information. For right-brained learners who learn best via images and movement, learning content that is predominantly designed to match left-brained processing is going to be a challenge. If we want to help all our children learn to the best of their abilities, it will be important for us to lead them in activities that will strengthen their ability to process in their less dominant hemisphere. Sometimes we call this "whole brain learning."
When visual learners begin school, they likely won't be prepared to help themselves succeed in an educational system that is not designed for their type of brain and how it processes. Because they are children, they will trust their adults to understand them and know how to teach them! It is our desire to share all we can about how visual learners process and how we can best meet their learning needs. Here are just a few of the strengths of visual learners. Let's celebrate these bright, creative children!