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Down Syndrome Research and Practice 1993 Abstracts
This study investigates a range of short term memory skills and the effectiveness of memory training procedures in improving these skills. The initial sample was 63 children with Down syndrome, aged 4-18 years, from two geographical areas in the UK. Phase 1 of the study assessed each child on a battery of tests including short term memory skills in different modalities, language skills, speech rate, word identification and a number of general IQ measures. Two groups were formed, one from one geographical area identified as the experimental group (n=25). A control group was formed from a subset of the remainder of children (n=26). Analysis verified that the two groups were similar and matched in terms of age and abilities. Phase 2 of the research consisted of a longitudinal training study of two memory strategies (rehearsal and organisation) which lasted for six weeks. For the experimental group (n=25), a cross-over design was employed to assess the effect of each strategy independently. Half the group received the rehearsal training first and the other half, the organisation-based training. Fifteen children from the group were taught by the first author and the rest by "keyworkers". In Phase 3 the initial assessment battery was repeated. The results demonstrated that each training programme was effective and enhanced only those specific memory skills addressed.
This paper addresses current theoretical perspectives on child language development, and their implications for intervention. It is argued that language is a complex system consisting of a number of distinct, interacting, components, and that no single explanation for its development is likely to be adequate: the evidence suggests, rather, that different factors predominate in the development of different parts of the system. Some recent work with deaf children - on the development of sign phonology, and on maternal strategies for presenting signs to their children in context - is then discussed together with its implications for the use of signs with other groups, focusing particularly on the use of signed input with children with Down syndrome.
Seventy-three patients with Down syndrome between the ages of 5 to 18 years were initially enrolled in this study and there were 68 patients in the final sample. Information was obtained from previous ophthalmologic examinations and parents completed a questionnaire pertaining to ocular disorders. Subsequently, the patients' visual acuity was assessed using Snellen or Kindergarten Test Charts for far vision testing and the Rosenbaum Pocket Vision Screener or the Child's Recognition and Near Point Test for near vision screening. A select group of children underwent a detailed ophthalmologic examination. The results of the parent questionnaire and data from the initial ophthalmologic screening are presented in Table 1 and 2, respectively. Results obtained from screening as well as from ophthalmologic evaluations indicate that 12 of 68 patients had bilateral poor vision (20/50 or below) and 15 patients were found to be amblyopic. Five of the 15 children with amblyopia had associated strabismus, another five had anisometropic amblyopia, two had both strabismus and anisometropia and three patients had no associate findings. This study suggests that children with Down syndrome may be at a greater risk for visual impairment than previously reported and that many of them may have amblyopia. Therefore, it is important that these children be examined ophthalmologically at regular intervals and treated appropriately if a visual disorder has been identified.