Teaching Children with Down Syndrome

Teaching Children with Down Syndrome
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Parents of children with Down syndrome sometimes feel at a loss when it comes to their child’s education. While children with Down syndrome have much in common with the typically developing child, they do embody a unique learning profile which requires specific strategies to support learning.

Parents of children with Down syndrome may wonder how to best help their children learn. Among the many things to consider are how to best develop gross and fine motor skills, self-help skills, academic skills, and more, while guiding their children to be the best they can be.

If you are a parent who has chosen to homeschool a child with Down syndrome, you have joined the ranks of many families who find that homeschooling makes sense for them. Because of special issues related to the syndrome, such as weak auditory processing, anatomy-related speech issues, and possible medical concerns, your child’s needs may not be met by a public or private school system.

Children with Down syndrome often require a multisensory learning experience, using as many channels of input as possible and involving repetition with expansion and reinforcement of previously learned skills.

A computer based curriculum may be part of the educational answer for children with Down syndrome. Research has shown that because of short-term auditory memory deficits, language supported by visuals and/or symbolic movements do help children with Down syndrome remember.

Time4Learning is an online interactive curriculum used at home for homeschooling, after school reinforcement, or summer study. It is a student-paced program filled with clear graphics, and simple sounds that don’t get in the way. The lessons go from preschool to twelfth grade, and the levels of the subjects can be set independently. This helps children who perform or progress at vastly different levels in these major subjects. Children progress at their own rate using multisensory learning that helps each learning style.

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Homeschooling and Down Syndrome

“Time4Learning is one of many tools I use to keep Patrick successful and motivated,” says Janet, mother of a 12-year-old with Down syndrome.

Because Time4Learning imposes no scheduling constraints, it is ideal for students who need to proceed at a slower pace. Each lesson may be repeated as many times as necessary. Students may work at any grade level appropriate for them and can be placed in different grade levels for each subject.

Children look forward to interacting with the animated characters that appear in many lessons. Day-to-day interaction with familiar characters stimulates interest and provides motivation. Students of any age who still enjoy cartoons will find the lesson characters especially engaging.

Time4Learning and Down Syndrome

“Our older five children are homeschooled, and Joshua will be, too,” says another Time4Learning mom who has a young son with Down syndrome. “Many books that address teaching reading to children with Down syndrome will recommend an initial focus on learning sight words. With Time4Learning, it’s easy to access the lessons that teach sight words and other language concepts, until a student is ready for phonics instruction.”

Students with Down syndrome may also have auditory processing disorders. Time4Learning’s language arts curriculum includes online books to aid in listening practice. A mouse click causes a single word to be pronounced. In this way, my son can hear the text read one word at a time, without background music or other distractions common in many computer programs.

“Auditory processing difficulties, combined with anatomy-related speech issues, frequently cause communication challenges. I love the language arts activities that allow a student to practice telling a story by arranging pictures on the screen. This type of activity is great for promoting communication skills in children like Joshua, whose receptive language ability exceeds his expressive language ability.”

Down Syndrome and the Multisensory Experience

“I was excited to use Time4Learning’s math program as my child’s introduction to computer use. Following the initial tutorial, which can be played as many times as necessary, the math program begins exploring concepts a student may already find familiar: same and different, big and little, top and bottom. I know this type of early success builds confidence in timid learners.”

“Like many individuals with Down syndrome, Joshua is a visual learner. With Time4Learning, number concepts become meaningful through activities such as counting pineapples, adding zoo animals and measuring fish. Friendly cartoon characters provide the kind of immediate feedback students find encouraging.”

Time4Learning is Easy to Use

“In our state, homeschooling parents of children with special needs must prepare a Parent Directed Plan. This takes the place of the customary Individualized Education Plan used by public schools. The Time4Learning lesson plans contain scope and sequence information that will make the preparation of our son’s plan easier. The reports available in Time4Learning’s student portfolio will satisfy a number of state requirements.”

What Other Parents are Saying

“With my son’s medical history and issues, I started at K level just to initiate the computer learning. He had to get used to that way of learning and I wanted him to feel successful. This is a level below where he was, but we are just breezing through the program.”
– Janet, Mom of Patrick

Click for more information and demos. Or to ask other parents, click through to the Time4Learning parent’s forum.

Time4Learning has helped thousands of children. Help yours today. Sign up for Time4Learning and gain access to a variety of educational materials, which will engage and challenge your child to succeed. Make Time4Learning a part of your learning disabilities educational resources.

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