Helpful Hints on Teaching Children With Down Syndrome

  • ​​Behavior management – In my experience, promoting good learning habits at a young age is extremely important.  It is crucial to address behaviors that may be interfering with the learning process in a timely manner.
  • During teacher-directed activities, continually promote and encourage movement, language, and following directions.
  • Imitation – I have noticed that children​ with Down syndrome learn primarily through imitation.  Students will learn social and behavioral skills by observing those with whom they interact most frequently.   
  • Errorless teaching – Provide minimal prompts to ensure correct responding when possible.  Physical prompts, verbal prompts, gestural prompts and positional cues can be used.  Provide praise and positive feedback for correct responding.
  • Maintenance for retentionit is important to review newly acquired information at regular intervals.
  •  Consider teaching new information receptively then expressively
    Receptive – student demonstrates knowledge nonverbally by pointing or getting correct item when directed to “show me…”, “give me…”, “point to…”, “find…”, etc.
    Expressive – student demonstrates knowledge by providing a verbal response.
  • Teach through repetition and a variety of materials and activities.
  • Re-teach while the student helps you clean up materials. Students love to be helpful and this provides a natural opportunity for repetition. 
  • Have the student get in the habit of combining verbal and motor responses simultaneously as frequently as possible.  For example, when identifying numbers, the student should say the number while pointing to the number when possible.  This ensures that the student is attending to the material. 

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