Child1st | The Strengths of Children with Down Syndrome

The Strengths of Children with Down Syndrome & How They Learn Best

September 21, 2022 0 Comments

The Strengths of Children with Down Syndrome & How They Learn Best

While children with Down Syndrome do experience learning challenges in classrooms, the good news is that they can reach their potential with specific teaching strategies that align with their learning strengths.



Children with Down Syndrome tend to communicate well and enjoy being social.  They often have a great impact on those around them, bringing out compassion and joy in others. According to Down Syndrome International, areas of strength include:

• Strong visual awareness and visual learning skills.
• Ability to learn and use sign, gesture, and visual support.
• Ability to learn and use the written word.
• Ability to learn from pictorial, concrete & practical materials.
• Keen to communicate and socialize with others.
• Tendency to model behavior and attitudes from peers and adults.
• Structure & Routine

How They Learn Best

Children with Down Syndrome are strong visual learners who rely on visual memory to recall what they have learned. Since they have strong visual awareness, it follows that the best way to teach them is to use visuals.

“Studies suggest that the processing and recall of spoken information is improved when it is supported by relevant picture material. This information has led to educators stressing the importance of using visual supports including pictures, signs and print when teaching children with Down syndrome as this approach makes full use of their stronger visual memory skills.” -DSE-

StudyingWhen teaching reading and phonics, instruction begins with sight words paired with pictures rather than learning all the letters and sounds and then having them sound out words.  Once the child has learned several words, the words can be broken into their sound spelling patterns.  Next, guide the child through making two or three-word phrases before transitioning to longer sentences.  This approach aligns nicely with their visual strengths while accommodating their challenges with short-term/working memory.

When teaching math, use resources that teach number concepts, using plenty of visuals, hands-on activities, manipulatives, patterns, and stories, which draw on their learning strengths.  



Classroom learning can be fun and enjoyable for children with Down Syndrome.  Try our multisensory resources today!  Lean into their visual strengths and help them love learning!  We are here to help; please reach out with any questions you may have!




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