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.
What is hard for them & why they struggle
Children with Down Syndrome are challenged by lessons that require them to listen to the teacher explaining new content verbally. They are also challenged by weak working memory, which makes tasks with multiple steps difficult. Children with Down Syndrome often have low muscle tone which makes tasks laborious and can produce exhaustion.
The gifts of children with Down Syndrome & how they learn best
Children with Down Syndrome are visual learners who rely on visual memory to recall what they have learned, so it follows that the best way to teach them is to use visuals. Other strategies that help include
- using memory tricks
- hands-on activities
- patterns in spelling and in math
When teaching reading and phonics, instruction begin 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 weakness with short term/working memory.
How we can help
Child1st learning resources are designed so children with Down Syndrome will have the opportunity to learn from their areas of strength.
Letters and words are embedded in images that help identify the meaning of the letter or word. Easy-for-Me™ Reading teaches whole words at the same time children are learning letters and sounds. Whole words are then broken down into spelling patterns. When learning math, children don’t have to memorize facts or procedures, rather procedures are taught using stories and pictures and hands-on materials that show children what the math operations mean. Learning visually is so much easier for children because their brains can snap a picture of the new information and they can retrieve it as a picture later. This is much better for children with Down Syndrome because they can avoid the tiresome repetition and drill.
Children will rely on pictures and body motions to quickly learn letters and their sounds.Learn More
SnapWords® help children with Down Syndrome easily learn words.Learn More
SnapWords® Kits provide an extensive sight word vocabulary and supporting resources.Learn More
Beyond Sight Words Activities
Hands on activities and games that teach reading skills while children learn SnapWords®.Learn More
Phonics and Spelling
Reach for phonics and spelling resources that use pictures and patterns to demystify our language.Learn More
Find an effective, self-paced reading program for grades from K-3.Learn More
Provide reading practice that combines sight words and phonics concepts.Learn More
Teach math using pictures, story, and body motions so they will understand.Learn More