A groundbreaking study is on in the US to find out how young children afflicted by the Down Syndrome learn. The study will, in turn, help evolve refine techniques of teaching such disadvantaged children.
Researchers at the University of Denver (DU) Morgridge College of Education have taken up the study. They will compare two early literacy intervention approaches in regard to Down syndrome children.
They are seeking children in the Denver area, ages 2 1/2 to 5, to participate in the study, which will involve a two-day training session to be held at the varsity followed by an at-home intervention program in which parents will implement the program with their child for approximately 15 minutes per day for approximately 10 months.
"There has been little to no research on how our children with Down syndrome learn, especially regarding reading and language," says Michelle Sie Whitten, executive director of the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation and Advisory Committee Chair of The Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Educational Fund. "There have been significant breakthroughs in terms of how children with other developmental disabilities learn, and I strongly believe that our kids deserve the same attention."
The result of this pilot study, Whitten said, could have a profound effect on the academic achievement of children with Down syndrome. An international team of experts has contributed to the study, including Sue Buckley, a chartered psychologist in England with more than 30 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities.
"What is so exciting and unique about this particular study is that scientifically based research on early learning intervention has been translated into applied research in areas such as autism, but never before in Down syndrome research," says Karen Riley, assistant professor of Child, Family and School Psychology at DU, and the key investigator driving the pilot study. "In addition, we are attracting researchers for this study who have expertise in other developmental disabilities, and we are applying their knowledge to Down syndrome."
This study was initiated by The Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Educational Fund. Established in 2006, the Fund's mission is to significantly improve the lives of people with Down syndrome through targeted education of caregivers, professionals, philanthropists, government and community leaders and the general public. The Fund's vision is to change the paradigm of how people with Down syndrome are perceived by society so that they are valued and integral in their schools, jobs and communities.