Teaching Strategies for Down Syndrome Essay
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Teaching Strategies for Down Syndrome Essay
Running head: TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR DOWN SYNDROME 1
TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR DOWN SYNDROME 3
Teaching Strategies for Down Syndrome Elementary Students
Down Syndrome is a disorder that faces many children globally face. With the right intervention strategies, children with Down Syndrome can normally learn and go as far as getting their college degrees and working in mainstream jobs. This study identifies the teaching strategies that educators should apply to teach children with Down Syndrome in elementary school. Elementary is a key stage in child development, and it determines future outcomes. The study, therefore, begins by looking at Down Syndrome and the strides that have been made by educators as regards teaching children with this condition.
I acknowledge that this work is original, and I have not presented the same elsewhere.
I dedicate this work to my colleagues, friends, and family, who have constantly encouraged and supported me.
Table of Contents ABSTRACT 2 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 3 DEDICATION 4 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 7 1.1 Problem Statement 7 1.2 History and Scope of the Problem 9 1.3Rationale 11 1.4 Research Questions 12 1.5 Anticipated Outcomes 13 1.7 Limitations of the Study 13 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 14 2.1INTRODUCTION 14 2.2THEORETICAL REVIEW 14 2.2.1 Classical Conditioning Theory 14 2.2.2 Operant Conditioning 17 2.3 CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME 20 2.4 TEACHER INTERACTIONS WITH DOWN SYNDROME STUDENTS 22 2.4.1 Teacher Attitudes 23 2.4.2 Student Responses and Outcomes 24 2.5 STRATEGIES USED BY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR DOWN SYNDROME STUDENTS 25 2.5.1 Inclusion 26 CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 31 3.1 Introduction 31 3.2 Research Framework 31 3.3 Research Design 31 3.4 Research Tools and Technique 32 3.5 Sample Profile, Size and Sampling Method 32 3.5.1 Sample Profile 32 3.5.2 Sample Size 32 3.5.3 Sampling Method 32 3.6 Data Collection, Procedures, and Analysis 33 3.7 Reliability and Validity of the Questionnaire to be Used 33 4.References 34
This research explores teaching strategies that can be adopted in educating elementary school children with Down Syndrome. According to Unicef, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that State parties must, “ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning (Unicef, 2012).” As much as evidence shows that various efforts, such as having inclusive curricula, have been made, to include children of Down Syndrome in the mainstream elementary schools, the teaching strategies that can be used to enhance learning experiences for these students is not well researched. The focus of this research will, therefore, be to address this research gap. You are repeating the same errors, and I am repeating myself trying to get you to stop repeating the same errors over and over – please write in the active, not the passive voice. Use past or perfect tense, not present tense. Provide at least 2-3 transitions within the paragraph and then provide transitions from one paragraph to the next. Do not keep repeating the same words over and over.
Children with Down Syndrome have a right to receive education in local schools. Before the 1970s, the diagnosis of Down Syndrome implied that such children were in-educatable. Transition Again, there have been different attitudes which have led to stereotypes of children with Down Syndrome, but evidence, such as a study done on early intervention for children with down syndrome indicated that they possess a myriad of intellectual abilities. Connolly et al. (1980) do the research, and it shows that with early intervention, children with down syndrome can develop motor and social skills earlier on. The intellectual abilities that the children possess have led to their successful integration into mainstream classes. Research done by Dessemontet, Bless & Morin (2012) shows that being educated in a mainstream school leads to massive gains such as the quicker development of literacy and social skills, for children with Down Syndrome. They can acquire growth in their academics, social life and in their behavior when allowed by their parents and educators to interact and learn together with their peers in mainstream schools. On March 27th, 2018, the Jerome Lejeune Foundation, dedicated to Down Syndrome co-organized an event with some countries, which took place during the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. One of the speakers in the session was John Franklin Stephens who has Down Syndrome and is an athlete, actor and American disability advocate. He gave his testimony on inclusion in mainstream schools, by explaining, “I was included in ordinary classes; the common kids and I learned from each other.” He also added that people, especially parents of those with Down Syndrome should “expect competence, not a failure (Freiburger,2018).” This indicates that when the children with Down Syndrome access appropriate support, they can greatly benefit. Similarly, research done by Buckley et al. (2006), indicates that inclusion is beneficial for children with Down Syndrome. The researchers found out that children were able to develop better literacy and numerical skills when included in a normal educational setting.
In addition to the above research, Buckley (2006) explains a research done by The Down Syndrome Educational Trust in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth throughout 15 years. The research demonstrated that inclusive education has significant benefits to children that include social, academic and communication skills. The researcher concludes that Institutions should provide inclusive education to children with Down Syndrome. The study further explains that there are no educational benefits of taking a child to a special school. This is because the children in mainstream schools had progressed more than their counterparts in special schools. Additionally, for many years, teachers have been reporting concerns when it comes to the type of teaching strategies to employ. Issues such as resources, support, and different planning issues are experienced by educators while trying to come up with effective teaching strategies for children with disabilities.
Down Syndrome has been identified as the highest genetic cause of intellectual disability according to research done by Glasson et al. (2002). It is therefore essential to focus attention on how various educators can employ teaching strategies in educating children with Down Syndrome while at the same time making sure they include the children in mainstream schools. Having inclusive teaching strategies and classrooms in elementary schools helps children with Down Syndrome to improve their communication skills and to attain a greater level of social competence. Teachers have found that so that there can be effective inclusion; there must be a change in learning and teaching strategies used.
To better understand the best type of teaching strategies to use for elementary school children with Down Syndrome, it is essential to identify the current methods used in classrooms and schools. In this research, therefore, the researcher will document the experiences that teachers have had when they include children with Down Syndrome in their classrooms. These experiences will be important as it will enable the researcher to fill the understanding gap existing in this area.
The 18th century saw those with Down Syndrome in the United States kept in institutions with inhumane conditions. They lacked access to health care, education, and other basic facilities. There was a general view that those with Down Syndrome could not be taught hence this treatment. The society also had a lot of stereotyping, and parents who gave birth to children with Down Syndrome were ashamed hence preferred to give their children away after birth. Some children were however placed in these institutions secretly, by nurses and doctors lying to the parents that the children had died during birth. According to Daunhauer, Fidler & Will (2014), “These children were “warehoused” in large state institutions – often in deplorable conditions – locked away so that the rest of society could not see the horror of their lives.” Up to the 1980s and late 1990s, people with Down Syndrome experienced a lot of discrimination. During this period a lot of organizations came up to advocate for the rights of those with Down Syndrome. The fact that doctors in the United States up until 1984 did not accept to perform procedures that would enhance the lives of people living with Down Syndrome fueled this (Pace, Shin & Rasmussen, 2010). Currently, some doctors still refuse to do some procedures, hence making the life-span of the patient shorter
Numerous works done by advocates and parents enabled education for children with disabilities to be passed by legislators as federal law in the United States. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act came into being on November 29th, 1975. During this phase, Congress opened up mainstream schools for children with disabilities hence giving them a chance to education and to develop their skills while contributing positively to the community (Lemons & Fuchs, 2010). Over the past decades, expectations for students with disabilities have greatly expanded. Classrooms are now more inclusive hence making the future of students with disabilities brighter. Great progress has also been made toward the protection of rights and improving the education of children, youth and adults with disabilities.
As of 2010, almost 60% of students with disabilities attended mainstream schools. Educational institutions provide early intervention to over 350,000 infants and their families. About 7 million children have been able to get special education and other services which have been designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. In 2010 President Obama signed the Rosa’s Law into effect, and it stated that words like ‘mentally retarded’ should be removed from the federal laws. This reaction showed the thoughtfulness and consideration that was being adopted by the public as regards Down Syndrome and other disabilities (Faragher & Clarke,2013).
When it comes to early reading progress, many children with Down Syndrome show an ability to read and embrace learning from an early age (Otaiba et al.,2009). Studies show that many parents have been successful in teaching pre-school children, who go on and learn successfully in their coming years. Many of the children can read single words by the time they reach 3 or 4 years. Several children also react well to flashcards, and it greatly enhances their learning. On 28th April 2018, history was made in Oregon when Cody Sullivan, who has Down Syndrome, graduated from college with a degree in elementary education at Concordia University. This is considered an achievement since many higher institutions lack facilities to support the learning of those with Down Syndrome. Currently, in the United States, only 264 out of 4,726 colleges offer courses that can be taken up by people with learning difficulties. Cody had his learning tailored to his condition hence making him have a smooth process. After graduation, he took up a job as an assistant teacher at a nursery school. One of Cody’s college friends, Mark Schweitz said, “It’s something that’s so normal for us. We see him every day. We don’t see him any different. So, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s graduating; he’s done his four years here; he’s got his degree (Walter, 2018).” This goes to show that if people with Down Syndrome are supported and given a chance, they can indeed achieve a lot.
The researcher has conducted the study since there it is essential to come up with teaching strategies that will be me more useful for students with Down Syndrome. In my line of study and career, I will be dealing with students with the condition; hence I would like to understand better the current teaching strategies in use and how these strategies can be enhanced. This research will also assist educators to be aware of current strategies employed in different places and how the same is working for the benefit of children with Down Syndrome. This will also assist in identifying areas that need improvement hence policymakers and educators will be able to come up with better policies and curricula for elementary school children with Down Syndrome. The subject is crucial since the world is moving towards more inclusive environments and giving people similar chances since everyone has the potential to learn. There is a myriad of success stories surrounding children with Down Syndrome, who have turned out to be highly successful adults. It is therefore essential that a better environment and teaching strategy be provided by educators so that these children get enhanced learning. Generally, more research is required in this area since teacher attitudes and challenges are also not well understood. The research will help in driving positive change, hence providing better opportunities for children with Down Syndrome.
This study seeks to answer the following research questions:
- How are the teaching strategies for Down Syndrome implemented and what is their success rate?
- What challenges have educators faced in coming up with teaching strategies for children with Down Syndrome?
- Has inclusivity in elementary school classrooms led to better outcomes for children with Down Syndrome?
- What are the current teaching strategies being used to teach children with Down Syndrome in elementary schools?
- Which strategies can enhance learning for children with Down Syndrome?
- How can teachers be better equipped to teach classes inclusive of children with Down Syndrome?
- The research will enable educators to learn from best practice and come up with better teaching strategies for children with Down Syndrome.
- Currently, there are many gaps as pertains to teaching children with Down Syndrome in an elementary school setting. This research will help to fill these research gaps.
- The research will help to recognize the challenges faced by teachers who have children with Down Syndrome in their classes.
- The research will help create awareness about the need to be more inclusive and supportive of children with Down Syndrome.
- The research will assist educators to understand the challenges faced by children with Down Syndrome as they interact with others in their classrooms.
- The study has limited time hence only a certain size of the population can be considered.
- Some of the respondents may not respond to the study as required.
Down syndrome refers to a genetic chromosome 21 disorder which causes developmental and intellectual delay. Such victims have different attributes in all the aspects of cognitive and social development. Because of delayed skills such as academic skills, language, social development and communication, students with Down syndrome require the services of a skilled teacher with special comprehension to their respective abilities, skills, strengths, and interests. The teachers are expected to guide the students by engaging them in learning and teaching activities. Where are your transitions that show how your sentences relate to each other? These students need inclusion in the learning and the social setting. This study analyzed the various theories that are geared by different researchers toward understanding the behavior of students towards their peers who have Down Syndrome and how that behavior influences the outcomes of children with Down Syndrome. In particular, the study reviews the classical conditioning theory by Ivan Pavlov, expertise and the operant theory by Frederic Skinner. Further, the study analyses the teacher interaction with Down syndrome students. Ultimately, the contemporary strategies that are being employed to enhance learning for Down syndrome students are discussed by the researcher
Pavlovian conditioning is the other term which stands for classical conditioning. A Russian physiologist popularly known as Ivan Pavlov (1849-1939) discovered this phenomenon. t The Russian physiologist was a Nobel prize winner in 1904. His discovery of classical conditioning t came along as he interacted with dogs and noted their salivation patterns during feeding. It is during these experiments that Pavlov made a discovery of distinctive patterns regarding the salivation of the dog. Such an experiment involved a researcher giving meat or rather powder of meat to the dogs under research to necessitate its salivation process. During the experiment process, however, with the researcher’s mere presence, the dog began salivating even without meat/powder. According to Pavlov, “There’s a neutral stimulus (the bell), which by itself will not produce a response, like salivation. There’s also a non-neutral or unconditioned stimulus (the food), which will produce an unconditioned response (salivation) (McLeod, 2018).” Such an observation was the genesis of Pavlovian condition theory. It was Pavlov’s observation that he could influence the dog’s salivation to numerous stimuli. Such a discovery was of value since it became a demonstration of the manner in which simple reflexes could be subjected to control. According to Omrod (2011), “While studying the role of saliva in dogs’ digestive processes, he stumbled upon a phenomenon he labeled “psychic reflexes.” While an accidental discovery, he had the foresight to see the importance of it. “A general inference was deduced that since simple reflexes can be subjected to control, it would then be possible to control a more complex behavior. Pavlov’s discovery also ascertained the potential gains of utilizing laboratory experiments towards comprehending the aspect of learning and behavior. In its simplest form, classical conditioning is defined by Ivan Pavlov as the learning through association. Moreover, Pavlov conditioning is simply explained by Ivan Pavlov as linking two stimuli together with a view meant to acquire an innovatively acquired response in a person or animal. Pavlov’s observations were supported by John Watson who opined that the classical conditioning process clearly explained the entire aspects of human psychology. The patterns of stimulus and responses culminated the human psychology from the speech to the emotional responses. In his argument, John Watson opposed the belief theory of an existing consciousness or mind. On the contrary, Watson believed that the notable diverse behaviors by all individuals are because of differential learning experiences. John Watson famously quoted, “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of his ancestors (Cherry, 2014).” The classical conditioning of Pavlov shows the conjunction of neutral stimulus and naturally conditioned stimuli and response. Employees in the workplace, demonstrate this by demonstrating that where a person misses his lunch and upon leaving the workstation in the evening smells someone’s dinner as they microwave it. As classical conditioning states, you will salivate and your hunger increases. Subsequently, when it comes to the application of classic conditioning in education, “Learning should reflect a change in behavior (Cherry,2014).” It is evident that our schools have overlooked the phenomena of classical conditioning in the education system forgetting that it can provide explanations and rationales to some of the mountainous behaviors. Using the classical conditioning theory, students should not only be active but also be behavioral participants in learning situations. For a student to exhibit desired behaviors, the instructor should ensure that the student actively participates in those or similar behaviors.
The exit of John B. Watson from academic psychology influenced the mushrooming of new behaviorists in the field. They came in with new proposals regarding the different kinds of learning apart from that of classical conditioning. Top of the radar on the new behaviorist was Frederic Burrhus Skinner also referred to as B. F. Skinner. The proposal put across by Skinner was a new form of learning which he termed as operant conditioning. According to Skinner, “When a Stimulus-Response (S-R) pattern is reinforced (rewarded), the individual is conditioned to respond (Skinner, 1938).” He Frederic is also regarded as the founder of operant conditioning with his work being embedded on the law of effect by Thorndike (1898). B. F. Skinner (1938) defined operant conditioning as a learning method occurring because of rewards and punishments for behavior. His argument on the same is that from operant conditioning, one’s association with a particular behavior alongside its consequences can be made. One can note that there is a less extreme variant between Skinner’s and Watson’s views. The variant was evident where Skinner believed in the existence of a mind but went ahead to opine that there are simplicity and productivity in studying observable behavior as compared to internal mental events (McLeod, 2018). Skinner negated the classical conditioning noting its simplicity nature which cannot be used to completely explain complex human behaviors. He argued that the most proper alternative means to comprehend the behavior of humans is through the examination of action causes as well as associated consequences. Under the law of effect which forms the basis of operant conditioning, Skinner came up with the term “reinforcement.” In relation to the same, he claimed that enforced behavior is likely to be repeated or rather strengthened. On the contrary, behavior that is reinforced by a person will get weakened. However, the discovery of operant conditioning is traceable to the experiments of Skinner (1948) in which he used animals put in a “skinner box” like Thorndike’s puzzle box.
Edward Thorndike (1874-1949), was a psychologist and he referred to operant conditioning as instrumental conditioning because according to him, “Any behavior that is followed by pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated, and any behavior followed by unpleasant consequences is likely to be stopped (Gray, 2011)”? He argued that a behavior conditioned by positive experience is likely to reoccur. In this breadth, when a child with Down Syndrome gets praise whenever they perform a task well in class and gets praised, they will most likely repeat this behavior as they get a pleasant consequence. Instrumental conditioning gave way to Skinner’s operant conditioning. Concerning the experimental box (skinner and Thorndike’s puzzle box), the subtle difference between operant conditioning as put by Skinner and instrumental conditioning as placed by Thorndike is simple. Whereas stimulus caused the animal to respond in a certain way as argued by Thorndike, Skinner believes that the stimulus only provided an environment for response emission. Thorndike focused on the association between stimulus and response whereas Skinner concentrated on the association between response and reinforcement. Skinner notes the critical role of shaping in operant conditioning.
Operant conditioning relates in the following ways to pedagogy:
- David (2015) indicates that “Positive reinforcement is used to increase the likelihood of the desirable behavior.” Strengthening of desired behaviors should be fostered using reinforcement. The instructor should be cautious about the behavior he wishes to reinforce. An instructor should not allow a student not to turn in an assignment as that behavior can be enhanced. Punishment is an effective way to eliminate undesired behavior. However, the punishment applied should be disciplined and should be used by an individual sparingly.
- David (2015), further states that “Punishment is used to decrease the likelihood of an undesirable behavior. “In line with this, the instructor should focus on the reinforcement of behavior desired instead of having those undesired ones punished. The focus should be positives while ensuring that punishments are sparingly allocated or done.
- In addition to the above, a study by Kelly (2015), states that “Immediate feedback is also useful in curtailing negative classroom behaviors.” In short, the reinforcement and punishment are variant to different individuals. The unilateral application of punishment and reinforcement is ineffective. They should be specific-oriented. This call for the instructor to know and understand his students.
- Skinner (2015), also adds that “Reinforcements, by definition, increase the targeted behavior, and punishments decrease targeted behaviors” This means that reinforcers need to be intense, immediate, and ever contingent regarding behavior. The student should always be aware of why he is being punished or reinforced. The instructors need to be able to have the desired behavior reinforced particularly when the learner is unlikely to manifest the desired behavior to its totality.
Research done by Martin, Klusek, Estigarribia, & Roberts (2009), on the language characteristics of individuals with Down Syndrome, shows that “Despite the considerable individual variability, the language and communication characteristics of individuals with Down syndrome follow a common profile.” They argue that expressive language is typically weaker than a receptive language where the educators emphasize syntax and phonology. They continue to argue that adolescents and children who have down syndrome produce complex but also shorter utterances. They also display the signs of collaborating and imitating conversational topics or even starting amendments to a breakdown in communication. These shortcomings extend in children as the inability to maintain a conversational topic, content-related narrative kills and the ability to operant to requests meant to amend the various breakdowns in communication. It is therefore essential that educators who come up with curriculum for children with Down Syndrome in elementary schools should focus on teaching strategies that will enhance expressive language. Such strategies will enable the children with Down Syndrome to develop both receptive and expressive language, which is crucial for learning, especially as they get to the upper classes.
Infants and toddlers who have Down syndrome feature with defective phonological systems. Robert Kara, who does a study on the expressive language of children with Down Syndrome states that “Children with Down syndrome present with an array of physical and cognitive sequelae that can hinder speech and language development (Kara, 2011).” These defects in the child with Down Syndrome are influenced by the cognitive deficit, loss of hearing, and existing differences in physiology and anatomy. Phonological awareness is crucial for elementary school students as it aids the learning and reading of the alphabetic language. Based on the fact that children with Down Syndrome experience slower phonological awareness, educators in the elementary school sector should come up with phonological awareness programs tailored to these children. The programs should be incorporated as part of the teaching strategies for children with Down Syndrome so that their phonological awareness is enhanced.
Individuals with Down syndrome have distinctive skeletal and muscular systems. The skeletal system lack or has deficient bone growth, has a smaller or cavity and has a more posterior tongue carriage. On the other hand, the muscular system lack or has extra muscles in the facial region together with an enormous muscular tongue. These structural differences in children with Down Syndrome, together with tongue size variation influence the production of lingual consonants. Miller et al. (1989) further state that, “it appears that variation in speech and language skills of children with Down syndrome can be attributed to their speech motor abilities which, in turn, are related to anatomical and physiological characteristics.” Children with Down Syndrome, therefore, experience speech difficulties, and the size of the tongue causes this. The speech difficulties affect children in elementary school since they will not be able to pronounce words like their peers or express themselves well when they need something. It is therefore essential that in the first year of life, a child’s tongue strength is enhanced by caregivers, through lip stimulation and exercises.
Warren & Yoder (1997) asserts that “Social interactions that comprise of activities which are shared with the rate and quality of caregiver’s language play a vital role in language acquisition.” The way the caregiver interacts with a Down Syndrome child is important, as it determines the outcome regarding language development. Caregivers must be sensitive to the needs of children with Down Syndrome, by communicating with them patiently so that they can acquire language. Children with Down Syndrome will be slower to language acquisition hence the need for caregivers to
The research by Buckley (2000) shows that the onset of meaningful speech delays in the infants with Down Syndrome. The author observes that “The appearance of words and the growth of productive vocabulary is extremely slow.” They then can into a conclusion that the lexical acquisition in children with Down syndrome delays as compared to the typically developing children. Due to the delay in lexical acquisition, there should be a focus on providing speech therapy for children with Down Syndrome. This enables the children with Down Syndrome to learn words that will help them learn better during the elementary school stage.
Gilmore, Campbell & Cuskelly (2003) conducted a survey where they examined a sample of 2053 people from the community and 538 experienced teachers. They aimed to determine the knowledge about Down syndrome together with the attitudes towards inclusions of children with Down syndrome. The researchers noted that” There was evidence of a happy and affectionate attitude developed. There existed a positive stereotype of children with Down syndrome (Gilmore, Campbell & Cuskelly,2003).” The researchers found that positive, accurate and realistic knowledge and expectations are vital for enhancing the acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome within their schools and communities. When communities receive education about children with Down Syndrome and the special needs they have, they become more sensitive toward their needs and support any efforts made towards assisting such children. Educational programs, therefore, work more effectively where there is support from the community.
Another survey was conducted by Avramidis, Bayliss, and Burden (2000) to evaluate the attitudes of mainstream teachers towards the inclusion of children with Down syndrome in the ordinary school. The survey was conducted by the researchers in the south west of England in one of the local education authorities. The sample comprises of 81 primary and secondary teachers. The survey revealed that “Those teachers developing and implementing inclusive programmes possessed a more positive attitude. This was attributed to their active experience of inclusion (Avramidis, Bayliss, and Burden, 2000).” The analysis also outlines the importance of professional development in the development of positive attitudes towards inclusion. It was revealed from the study that the teachers with university-based professional development showed more positive attitudes on top of being more confident in meeting the IEP requirements of students with Down syndrome. These results demonstrate that that teacher training at pre-service and post-service levels in the development of teachers to support inclusion must be adopted. Teachers who attend colleges and other institutions must be made aware of the needs of children with intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome. The teacher training should involve education on how to effectively teach children with Down Syndrome and how to address any challenges faced.
Amr, Al-Natour, Al- Abdallat and Alkhamra (2016) conducted their survey in Jordan where they explored the teacher’s knowledge and attitudes towards the inclusion of students with Down syndrome in mainstream schools. The study sample constituted of 87 primary school teachers. The survey also unveiled the diverse barriers perceived by teachers to successful inclusion. The findings showed that “The teachers did not have appropriate knowledge about inclusion and were negative about including students with Down Syndrome in their classrooms.” The survey also indicated that the teachers have negative attitudes towards inclusion of students with Down syndrome. The various barriers highlighted by the teachers as reasons for hindering successful inclusion included negative attitudes of students and staff towards students with Down syndrome, underprepared school environment, unmatched curriculum, unmatched evaluation modules plus lack of family and society’s support. The survey recommended changing of education system infrastructure to build an inclusive education.
A study by Fenrick and Petersen (1984) revealed that structured peer tutoring programs could be regarded as effective systems towards increasing instructional time in special education classroom and for developing positive changes in attitudes with reference to students with Down syndrome. This was revealed after comparing the attitudes of sixth graders participating in a peer tutoring program with other sixth graders who did not participate. Fenrick and Petersen noted that “The tutors held more negative attitudes toward their Down syndrome student before the tutoring program (Fenrick & Petersen (1984).” This was in comparison with the tutor’s attitudes towards the classmates of the Down syndrome students. However, the attitude changed progressively, and after seven weeks of tutoring, there was an insignificant difference in attitude shown to a student with Down syndrome and their colleagues. The attitude of the sixth graders who did not participate in the tutoring program remained unchanged. Moreover, a similar observation was made by the researchers when while using a social distance measure. The study is an indication that more peer tutoring is necessary as it is a great way of making peers to appreciate their colleagues who have Down Syndrome.
Rillotta and Nettelbeck (2007) went in a mission to determine whether the social and educational integration combined with training in awareness of disability for secondary school students resulted in more positive and long-lasting attitudes about the educational and social inclusion of people with Down syndrome. They assessed a sample of 259 (116 males and 143 females) the effects of awareness of disability programs were scaled by comparing attitudes of current secondary school students who are participating in a 3-session or 8-session awareness of disability program (ADP) and the past students who had participated in a 10-session ADP 8 year prior to the present study. It was noted that “There were more favorable attitudes from the students completing the 8-session ADP than the 3-session ADP respondents. Additionally, the attitudes of past students were highly positive (Rillotta & Nettelbeck, 2007).” It was the study’s conclusion that ADP programs can promote positive attitudes towards people with Down syndrome. ADP programmes should, therefore, be adopted more so that educators and stakeholders create further awareness about Down Syndrome. If given a chance, children with Down Syndrome can be highly successful in various areas of life such as studies or business. ADP programmes, therefore, create more supportive societies that give opportunities in various areas, like the workplace, to even those with Down Syndrome.
In another study conducted by Wilkins et al., (2016), explores how 3rd and 4th-grade students responded to characters with disability in the children’s books. They selected a sample of 12 books. The researchers deduced that the portrayal of characters in children’s literature acts as a power influencer on young children. There was a mixed response from the 3rd and 4th-grade students depending on the exposure. Some responded with a positive attitude especially the 4th graders while other responded with negative attitudes more so the 3rd graders. The researchers conclude that it was the instructor’s role to expose the toddlers to all type of characters including those with impairments.
In his study, Wolpert (2001) wanted, “To determine the degree of inclusivity of toddlers with impairment by the stakeholders as supported by the established by the classroom and instructor-based management procedure after a high rating by the parents.” A sample of 250 parents was selected, and 195 of the respondents expressed their satisfaction with their toddler’s inclusion. Another sample of 250 teachers was selected, and 189 of the respondents positively supported the management procedures for inclusivity. The researcher gave special recognition to the impairment based programmes which enhanced inclusivity and positive attitudes. It was the views of the researcher’s that strategic timing to assignment modification should be embraced as more time is allocated the instruction schedule in an aim to improve the model.
On another study, Campbell, Gilmore, and Guskelley (2003) interviewed members of the community on, “Their engagement levels and knowledge on Down syndrome as well as personal opinions regarding inclusive education.” Also, at the onset of the semester, they sampled 274 pre-service teachers on the same topic. The study revealed that at the close of the semester, the stakeholders had equipped themselves with the requisite knowledge regarding the impairment. Additionally, they had developed extensive supporting attitudes with respect to inclusivity of toddlers who have Down syndrome. Moreover, their general attitude about impairment had shifted positively. The study recommended an overhaul of the system by combining the structure fieldwork experiences with information-based instruction with structure fieldwork experiences in a move to advocate for inclusivity and a positive shift of attitudes. The study concluded that a drive should be initiated to create an awareness regarding a particular impairment which would transform into subsequent changes in attitudes towards impairment.
Avramidis, Bayliss, and Burden (2000) analyzed student-teachers attitudes towards the inclusivity of toddlers with special need in ordinary school. A sample of 135 student teachers who were completing teachers training was selected. From the analysis of the survey, the respondents had a positive attitude towards inclusion. However, their perceived competencies dropped when scaled against the severity of the children’s special need. Emotional and behavioral complexities related toddlers were perceived to be stress-concentrated to the student teacher. The study recommended the adoption of broad training and facilitation to support inclusion.
Another study was conducted to examine the mother’s beliefs, knowledge, intentions, including attitudes to have children with Downs syndrome socially integrate into the family, in schooling systems, as well as with children without disabilities. Barnoy, Bilton, and Itzhaki (2017) spearheaded the study. They administered cross-sectional and descriptively designed questionnaires to Muslim and Jewish mothers. The researchers reviewed that 93% of Jewish mother’s respondents and 52% of the Muslim mother’s respondents had performed a screening test for Down syndrome during pregnancy. However, all the respondents displayed a low knowledge level about Down syndrome. From the study, it was deduced that Muslim and Jewish mother’s attitudes and beliefs towards children with Down syndrome’s social inclusion are highly positive. Additionally, they have a high motive of integrating disability-free toddlers with those who have Down syndrome. Nevertheless, their level of knowledge pertaining Down Syndrome is low.
Schwab, Huber, and Gebhahadt (2016) came up with an investigation on the influence or impact of teacher feedback with regards to social acceptance for students with intellectual disabilities against those without disabilities. They administered a computer task to a sample of 601 students in grades 3 and 4. It was revealed that 26% of the respondents attend an inclusive school. The study revealed that children with Down syndrome are less socially acceptable than those without a disability. However, there was negligible variation regarding social acceptance of the student with Down syndrome for learners from regular and inclusive schools.
2.5.2 Current Strategies Used to Enhance Learning for Down Syndrome Students
It is evident that the toddlers who have Down syndrome need special accommodations and diverse modifications in the curriculum to enhance their learning. There are various contemporary strategies that have been utilized by educators in the pursuit of enhancing learning for Down syndrome students.
One of the strategies includes developing a specific learning profile. The learning profile refers to the data comprising the learning Down Syndrome’s associated weaknesses and strengths. The profile of the learner can then be integrated into the framework thereby creating a connotation of understanding the development of children. Some of the methods to support incorporations include but are not restricted to scaffolding and setting up situations for imitation learning, daily practicing of targeted skills built for the engagement of class activities, including strategized activities that translate to toddlers’ routine. Otherwise, other methods are supporting positive behavior as well as ensuring adaptations that employ learning strengths while supporting difficult areas. Thereby, teachers can use this foundation to review the plan and curriculum for a differentiated plan for work.
The introduction of games in the learning environment. It is evident that sometimes the children with Down syndrome who shows learning complexities requires some assistance to instill skills that will help in inquiring what the role of the different gaming equipment and how to utilize them. Thus, gaming is critical to the babies who have Down syndrome. Researchers have argued that the games with respect to their imaginative nature in the 2nd year of a toddler’s life create an opportunity to learn a new language. Thus, the introduction of gaming in the education curriculum is a current strategy utilized to enhance learning for children who have Down syndrome. Nevertheless, the role of games is not limited to a form of playing utilized as an entertainment feature embraced in learning.
Another strategy that educators utilize is the adoption of structured learning. In structured learning, researchers discuss the various benefits and drawbacks that are offered by diverse approaches. The structured learning is beneficial to children who have Down syndrome especially those with developmental delays and difficulties in learning. Cognitive factors can hinder the ability to develop their personal learning experience. This calls for additional planning to integrate those skills into a modern setting. This is where the structured learning comes in. In the structured learning, there is a compromise in offering the additional learning experiences with the day to day activities of the learner. The structured learning offers a good simulation of individuals with Down syndrome in their lives. That notwithstanding, the structured learning ought to bring together the normal methods of learning and the structured ones. Considering the usual learning cases where stakeholders use normal methods to demonstrate to the children on how constructions happen, the structured methods brings on board non-complex and repeated avenues of learning where daily practice and there is an emphasis on consequent mastery. Other methods such as reading books together and dividing learning tasks into small stages are the emerging teaching method strategies adopted to enhance learning.
The other contemporary strategy is automatization. One can note that the idea of automating skills particularly through endless practice enhances the acquisition of the skills mentally and enables easy learning and provides ease of access. The automated skills are quickly available in the aspect of supporting other complex activities.
This chapter describes the methods that the researcher will use in determining teaching strategies for children with Down Syndrome in elementary schools. The research design, population, sample, and data collection procedure are analyzed. The chapter is significant as it justifies the procedures to be used in gathering and interpreting information, that will enable one to understand the types of teaching strategies that are necessary for enhancing the learning of children with Down Syndrome.
The study will use quantitative methods in gathering primary data. A descriptive method is employed since it will give accurate data, collected via questionnaire. The researcher will carry out the study in a few schools, hence the need for such a type of study. The researcher will analyze and interpret data through descriptive statistics.
The research uses a descriptive survey which is quantitative and uses different methods of information gathering. It will enable the researcher to describe the situation in terms of teaching strategies currently in use and any gaps within the same. The researcher chooses the descriptive method as it is conclusive and offers a structured way of gathering data. Also, the researcher uses the survey method, and respondents will answer questions provided through a questionnaire. The responses will then be analyzed accordingly. To ensure that the researcher deeply investigates the subject, the questionnaire will combine a Likert scale plus open-ended questions. Descriptive research is beneficial as it will enable the researcher to assess respondent behavior. It will also be easier to measure and analyze data. The descriptive research will also enable the researcher to discover the relationship that exists between different variables.
The researcher will use a questionnaire as the research tool. This will provide a great insight into the topic of research. The researcher will obtain consent before engaging in the research.
The study will target elementary schools that include children with Down Syndrome as part of their classes.
The researcher will use a sample of 3 elementary schools. The researcher will draw a sample size of 30% from the total population.
The sample size will be made up of a total of 300 employees drawn from three elementary schools that educate children with Down Syndrome
ROLE POPULATION SAMPLE SIZE School 1 0.30 of 100 30 School 2 0.30 of 100 30 School 3 0.30 of 100 30 300 90
The research will use primary data, collected through a questionnaire. Most questions will be close-ended so that standard responses are received. The Likert scale will be employed, and it will consist of 5 major areas: 1-Strongly Disagree, 2-Disagree, 3-Neutral, 4-Agree, 5-Strongly Agree. In data analysis, the researcher will use statistical analysis and present the data in the form of tables, graphs, and charts.
The researcher must test the questionnaire before being fully used for the research. This will ensure there is full understanding by the respondents. It will also be a great way of confirming that there is a willingness to participate in the study.
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Zero points: Student failed to include citations and/or references. Or the student failed to submit a final paper. 5 out 20 points: Sources are seldom cited to support statements and/or format of citations are not recognizable as APA 6th Edition format. There are major errors in the formation of the references and citations. And/or there is a major reliance on highly questionable. The Student fails to provide an adequate synthesis of research collected for the paper. 10 out 20 points: References to scholarly sources are occasionally given; many statements seem unsubstantiated. Frequent errors in APA 6th Edition format, leaving the reader confused about the source of the information. There are significant errors of the formation in the references and citations. And/or there is a significant use of highly questionable sources. 15 out 20 points: Credible Scholarly sources are used effectively support claims and are, for the most part, clear and fairly represented. 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The paper has slight errors within the paper. This can include small errors or omissions with the cover page, abstract, page number, and headers. There could be also slight formatting issues with the document spacing or the font Additionally the paper might slightly exceed or undershoot the specific number of required written pages for the assignment. 10 points: Student provides a high-caliber, formatted paper. This includes an APA 6th edition cover page, abstract, page number, headers and is double spaced in 12’ Times Roman Font. Additionally, the paper conforms to the specific number of required written pages and neither goes over or under the specified length of the paper.
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