Are you seeking advice for supporting Down’s syndrome students in your classroom? If the answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right place!
What is Down’s syndrome?
Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder which affects a baby’s physical development and causes mild to severe learning difficulties. Children who are born with Down’s syndrome also have a significantly increased risk of having other health complications such as heart, sight, and hearing problems and Alzheimer’s disease. In the UK, about 1 in every 1000 live births is affected. Although it is not clear what causes Down’s syndrome, it seems that the single biggest risk factor is the age at which a woman gives birth. The greatest risk is associated with women who are age 45 or over.
Here is a checklist of things you can do to support children with Down’s Syndrome in your classroom:
- Allow students to sit near the front – especially if they have difficulties hearing
- Address children by name first to get their attention before speaking
- Use Key Words – this can help to identify with the subject matter
- Keep instructions short, clear and concise
- Using signs or symbols such as Makaton or PECs can be helpful – and fun for students to learn too
- Allow time for students to absorb instructions and use visual reminders where possible
- Encourage reading, especially at an early age – most children with Down’s syndrome can learn to read at a similar rate to their peers.
- Visual skills are usually a strength, as children with Down’s Syndrome often remember what words look like. Reading is often better than spoken English.
- Support writing skills – children with Down’s Syndrome will often learn to write in a similar way to their peers but may be delayed due to decreased muscle tone and coordination which means there may be difficulties controlling fine movements.
- Set up the desk and chair appropriately (following usual guidelines) so that one part of the body can be still while moving another – this can really help children with Down’s Syndrome.
- If possible, give access to a speech and language therapist who will help give the best guidance on support. If you need one but don’t currently have one on staff, Axcis can help you to recruit one!
- Ensure that there is an adult at school who understands the condition and make sure that any student with Down’s Syndrome knows who they are and that they can talk to them at any time if they feel worried or unwell. This reassurance can help a lot.
Are you seeking work with SEND children? Axcis can help!
If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a SEND teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area, so if you need work, why not register now?