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Down Syndrome Research and Practice 1996 Abstracts
Firstly, research addressing early intervention in Down syndrome is discussed. It is argued, in contrast to prior reviewers, that early intervention in Down syndrome does seem to yield positive effects in different developmental domains. However, the evidence of long-term effects appears to be mixed, albeit the implications of this state of affairs are arguable. Secondly, some recent trends in early intervention research are outlined. The implications of the recent emphasis on pinpointing strengths and weaknesses in Down syndrome and the emergent recognition of the importance of the context of child development are spelled out. The consequences of a contextualized approach to child development is discussed particularly in relation to the notions of outcome variables and the wider context of development, i.e. in terms of the impact of early intervention on families and the long-term goals of early intervention. Finally, it is argued that the time seems ripe to situate the early intervention movement in its sociocultural context, i.e. in the nexus of political, ideological and scientific factors.
This study describes the effects of using a memory training programme with children with Down syndrome at schools for children with severe learning difficulties. The results suggest a small but significant improvement in memory spans for children at schools where they were trained by teachers or teaching assistants. There were no significant differences between auditory or visual stimulus presentation or between manual or verbal responses, but a three-way interaction between assessment point, stimulus presentation and response mode showed that memory and verbal recall of longer words particularly improved. Responses demonstrated a classic word length effect. One further finding was a significant correlation between reading and memory scores after the training.
With the financial support of the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Trust, based at the Sarah Duffen Centre in Portsmouth, research has been carried out in the last few years on the sleep problems of children with Down syndrome and the associations between these problems, learning, behaviour and family factors. The children studied were generally of school age and attending either mainstream or special schools. The research programme, which has involved a number of novel approaches to these neglected problems, has raised various issues which call for further investigation but the main findings already have implications for the care by both professionals and parents of children with Down syndrome. This account describes in general terms such findings and implications. Further details are available in the selected references provided.