Inclusive Education for Learners with Down Syndrome – Literature review Example

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The paper "Inclusive Education for Learners with Down Syndrome" is a perfect example of a literature review on education. Intellectual disability or physical disability describes any disability that notably affects a person’ s learning ability and development. The nature of disability varies in each individual although all people with intellectual disabilities have difficulties in learning, understanding, analyzing, or thinking things out. Sometimes people may also have difficulty in acquiring competence in language, physical or social development. (Ashman, 2012) Education disability has been based on a psycho-medical diagnosis of individual learner shortcomings.

Learning difficulties were located in the learners themselves who were excluded from the normal learning set up and placed in isolated classrooms. It was considered that the learning deficits required special attention from special teachers and medical attendants who had the knowledge to design and implement special education programs. Psychologists, sociologists, and behaviorists realized that this educational program did not assist the learners with intellectual disabilities but rather intensified their exclusion and marginalization in society. (Collins et al, 2001) In today’ s education systems, all students regardless of their personal predispositions have equal rights to access and participate in education provisions in regards to their potential and abilities.

One of the learner disabilities that need intervention in secondary school levels in Down syndrome. This is because the cognitive aspects observed in Down syndrome are inconsistent with stronger visual skills than verbal. The learners have strong receptive skills for vocabulary but, exhibit problems in expressive language as well as grammatical skills. Nevertheless, variations are observed in children with Down syndrome across the population in regards to literacy development. (Ashman, 2012) Research findings on the intellectual ability of learners with Down syndrome can be critically analyzed by comparing the learners’ performance to a control group.

However, debates have been stiffened about which is the appropriate criteria to choose comparison groups so as to get the best results. The studies are geared towards finding the best strategy for inclusive education for this kind of leaner. Aspects of Down syndrome considered include verbal and language ability and most of the researchers do not take into account other behavioral aspects that may affect the performance of learners with Down syndrome such as the motivational style.

(Collins et al, 2001). Taylor & Harrington (2003) suggest that in reference to education, the research conducted indicates that the recent inclusive policies that advocate for mainstream education for children with Down syndrome affect the learners’ language abilities and academic achievements. The literature review below explores previous research issues tacked on literacy development in Down syndrome. There are numerous factors that need to be considered when including a student with Down syndrome in a regular English secondary classroom. According to Hughes & Carter (2008), intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect the child’ s literacy development hence need to be considered comprehensively.

It has been established that children and young people with Down syndrome attending mainstream schools do better than their peers in special schools in reading and language. Therefore, emphasizing the role of the home environment is significant as it affects performance even in secondary school levels. Research put forward suggests that the home environment in literacy affects or rather influences the interest the learner with Down syndrome has in reading. Parental guidance and belief about reading influence how learners with Down syndrome in their propensity to ask questions especially in a group or shared reading, receptive vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

It is noted by research that even though Down syndrome learners were given a wide range of reading materials, their reading ability could not surpass those students included in good literacy programs in normal schools. This is because many comprehension aspects provided in normal classrooms were highly neglected. (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2001). According to Taylor & Harrington (2003), when the Down syndrome children are compared to typically developing learners, they are poorer in rime judgment, rhyme oddity, and phoneme analysis.

They are better however on those tasks that tap on phoneme counting, spelling, and deletion. The children with Down syndrome could identify sounds at initial points although they found it difficult to identify rimes. It is however indicated that children in inclusive classrooms and those that were taught to read at an early age demonstrate well-developed phoneme skills with minimal signs of rhyme deficits at the secondary school level. In addition, verbal and non- verbal memory skills are better developed as well as naming and speech rates improved in an inclusive classroom set up.

(Bryant et al, 2008) Reading ability is an area of relative strength for learners with Down syndrome and it should not be overlooked when designing instructional materials for an inclusive class. Although their level of achievement varies, learners with Down syndrome acquire literacy skills better in conventional classroom setups. The reading skills entail cognitive ability, expressive skills, and other receptive language skills. Phonological awareness is inclusive. However, previous researches show inconsistent results since many of them consider learners from different school backgrounds.

(Taylor & Harrington, 2003).

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