A Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome: Teacher's Handbook

Charles Hulme, Margaret J. Snowling, Sue Buckley, Paula J. Clarke, Fiona J. Duff, Kelly Burgoyne

Editorial: Down Syndrome Education Internat, 2012
ISBN 10: 1782610456 / ISBN 13: 9781782610458
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This handbook describes an evidence-based reading and language teaching program designed for children with Down syndrome. The program complements regular literacy classroom instruction with individualized teaching of sight words, letter sounds, phoneme awareness and book reading, together with the teaching of vocabulary. It was evaluated in a landmark randomized controlled intervention trial in primary schools in the United Kingdom.

This practical handbook provides detailed guidance, video illustrations, assessment forms and teaching resources to help teachers and teaching assistants implement an evidence-based teaching program designed for children with Down syndrome. The handbook is written by the team who designed and evaluated the intervention in a major research study in UK elementary schools.

The teaching program

The intervention teaches language and literacy skills following evidence-based principles adapted to meet the specific learning needs of children with Down syndrome. It is based on interventions that have been shown to be beneficial for other children experiencing language and reading difficulties, and incorporates the principles of best practice for all children as identified by current research and guidelines. The intervention complements regular literacy instruction, providing a clear framework for the additional individualized support and regular practice needed by pupils with Down syndrome.

The intervention is suitable for beginning readers through to those with reading ages up to 8 years and for students with a wide range of language abilities. Teaching is adapted to meet individual needs through initial assessments of skills and regular monitoring of progress.

The evaluation

The intervention was evaluated in the first randomized controlled trial of an educational intervention designed for children with Down syndrome, and one of the largest of any study of children with Down syndrome to date.

The evaluation study found that:

- Children receiving the intervention made faster progress on average on a number of measures than children receiving ordinary teaching.

- Gains on four outcome measures were statistically significant (in other words, they are considered unlikely to have occurred by chance) after 20 weeks of intervention. These were single word reading, letter-sound knowledge, phoneme blending and taught expressive vocabulary, reflecting the skills that were most directly targeted by the intervention.

- Children receiving the intervention gained an average 4.6 words on a measure of single word reading over 20 weeks, compared with an average 2.0 words for children in a control group not receiving the intervention: a gain of 2.6 words.

- By the end of the study, 1 in 5 children with Down syndrome achieved word reading scores similar to those expected of typically developing children of the same age.

- Teachers reported that the predictable structure of the intervention led to improved behavior, attention and engagement in learning.

- Rates of progress for individual children varied widely with some children making substantial progress quickly, some children steadily making slower progress, and a few children making little or no progress.

- Children who started the program at a younger age, who had better receptive language skills at the outset, and who received the most intervention sessions generally made the greatest progress.

About the Author:

Kelly Burgoyne is a Research Fellow at Down Syndrome Education International. Her research interests are currently focused on the reading skills of children with Down syndrome and the development of effective interventions.

Fiona Duff is a Research Associate at the University of Oxford. Her current research focuses on the inter-relations between spoken and written language and in evaluating interventions that address weaknesses in these skills.

Paula Clarke is a Lecturer in Psychological Approaches to Childhood and Inclusive Education at the University of Leeds. Paula has expertise primarily in the field of reading comprehension. She works with colleagues in Leeds on a project investigating the reading comprehension skills of deaf children. She also continues to work in collaboration with Down Syndrome Education International.

Glynnis Smith has had a long career working in schools and in teacher training at York St John where she was Head of Continuing Professional Development. She was a member of the expert advisory group who contributed to the Rose Report Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties and is the co-developer of the Interventions for Literacy web site.

Sue Buckley is Director of Research at Down Syndrome Education International and Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disability at the University of Portsmouth, UK. For the past 30 years, she has played a leading role in stimulating growth in research into the education and development of children with Down syndrome worldwide. Sue received an OBE for her services to special needs education in the Queen s 2004 Birthday Honours List and the Theodore D. Tjossen Research Award by the US National Down Syndrome Congress in 2005.

Charles Hulme is Professor of Psychology at University College London and former co-Director of the Centre for Reading and Language at the University of York. He is an expert in cognitive and developmental psychology and received the Dina Fitelson Award of the International Reading Association for his work on reading intervention. He is Senior Associate Editor of Psychological Science and former Editor in Chief of Scientific Studies in Reading.

Margaret J Snowling is President of St. John s College Oxford. She formerly was Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of York where she was Co-Director of the Centre for Reading and Language. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She served as a member of Sir Jim Rose s Expert Advisory Group on provision for Dyslexia (2009) and as an expert member of the Education for All: Fast Track Initiative (2011).

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Detalles bibliográficos

Título: A Reading and Language Intervention for ...
Editorial: Down Syndrome Education Internat
Año de publicación: 2012
Encuadernación: Spiral-bound
Condición del libro: Very Good

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