Madrid 1997 World Down Syndrome Conference Reading, Writing & Mathematics Workshops


Bautista, A., Hurtado, F., López, M.P., Fernandez, R.
Asociación Sindrome de Down. Perete, 36 18014 Granada, (España)

La experiencia de enseñar a leer a personas con Síndrome de Down va siendo cada vez más rica y extensa. Casi todas ellas se han llevado a cabo con niños/as.
Problema: ¿Hasta qué punto estas experiencias en niños pueden tener el mismo resultado si son aplicadas en adultos? Es necesario entrar en esta labor educativa conociendo su individualidad y descubriendo sus intereses.
Métodos: El método publicado por la Asociación Síndrome de Down de Granada, 'ME GUSTA LEER', está especialmente diseñado para alumnos/as en etapa escolar. Las palabras y frases utilizadas en él son más del interés de esas edades. Para el grupo de jóvenes que trabajamos con esta metodología global, se han elaborado y seleccionado materiales que tienen en cuenta sus intereses, hobbies, su sexo, incentivos,... posibilitando, de hecho, recorrer todas las fases del método global editado con más rapidez que lo hacen los de edad temprana.
Resultados: Número de jóvenes: 23
Saben leer: 11
No saben leer: 12
Discusión: Un 47'8% de los 23 jóvenes que han iniciado el aprendizaje de la lectura con un método global, saben leer. El 52'2% restante se encuentra, en una mayoría, en el proceso analítico, con lo que demuestran, todos, la posibilidad de avanzar en el aprendizaje lector.Resumen: La adaptación a sus intereses de los materiales y palabras iniciales está siendo el apoyo y la referencia para mantener a este grupo en un interés y en una situación de 'éxito' para su aprendizaje. En general, cuando van consiguiendo la comprensión lectora, se sienten más integrados entre los jóvenes de su edad, pudiendo compartir noticias e intereses.

Thümmel, I.
Dominicusstrabe 14, 56073 Koblenz, (Germany) Fax: 49-261-401985 Phone: 49-261-409223

1. Thesis to be discussed during the workshop. First Thesis: All children with Down Syndrome can learn to read and write! Second Thesis: Teaching Down's Syndrome children to read and write as a part of their empowerment for everyday life in a literate society is a top priority!
2. Methods used to teach reading and writing to children with Down Syndrome. A competent, methodical planning which takes into account the proprioceptive, vestibulary, olfactory, tactile, auditive and visual faculty of perception as well as the sense of taste, open up a sensible access to the written language. In addition we teach on an enactive, iconised and symbolic level. On the enactive level we teach children to read situation, to perceive and recognize objects and people in different situations, to know their functions and to form defined patterns. Subsequently we replace the real objects by photos. On this iconic level children learn to read pictures, first with only one object, later on we present more complex pictures. Those we connect with symbols from the Makaton-Vocabulary. On the third level, the symbolic one, we practice signal word reading, specially those words the pupils need for coping with their everyday life (for example BUS, WC, Danger). Finally we approach reading with an integrative (analytic and at the same time synthetic) and multisensual programme. Parallel to the reading programme we teach writing. Priority object of the writing program is that children with Down Syndrome learn to write their surname and name.
3. Evaluation and Interpretation of different cases. Several cases of children with Down Syndrome who are on their way to written language will be discussed.

Monari, E.
Via Anfossi, 7 35129 Padova (Italy) Phone: 39-49-772003 Fax: 39-49-8758596 E-mail:

This paper deals with the adaptation of the curriculum of algebra for two students, a boy and a girl, with Down's Syndrome included in High School. Both of them, since the kindergarten, have been fully included in general education classes. The rationale of the choice of a program of algebra is examined.The adaptation of the program was easy: shortening it and doing some more steps in teaching (a little bit more than in a remedial course). Also visual prompts were provided. The boy needed the calculator all the time.Both of the students learned to calculate algebraic expressions with parenthesis, with positive and negative numbers and even with powers. The boy was able to do the algebraic sum of monomials. The girl performed expressions with fractions. They made written and oral tests at the same time as their classmates, just with different exercises or questions. The girl was able to do some mental arithmetic. Often she was more consistent and careful than her typical classmates. The boy had problems in the integration and he did not attend the school full time.The inclusion, even when it was not perfect, provided the motivation to teach and to learn. In both cases the crucial point was the daily collaboration of the teacher of mathematics with the special educator. Both the students enjoyed the program of mathematics, as many typical students do. Mathematics gave them the nice emotion of succeeding!

De Graaf, E., De Graaf, M.
Stichting Down's Syndroom. Bovenboerseweg, 41 NL 7946 Al Wanneperveen (The Netherlands). Phone: 31-0-522-281337 Fax: 31-0-522-281799 E-mail:

That children with Down Syndrome could maybe learn to read became generally known in the field at the end of the eighties. However, the dogma 'They will never learn maths' remains alive until the present day. In literature, there is very little description about the process of learning maths for our children. The authors of this paper didn't accept the dogma and decided to attempt to teach their little boy with Down Syndrome elementary maths.Teaching maths was conducted simultaneously with teaching reading at a very early age and made effective use of the emerging reading proficiency. Used as a base were the specific materials from the Macquarie Program. These were followedup by a Dutch maths method for children with learning problems, low-stress. Several innovative adaptations had to be made by the authors.In the present paper, learning to do additions under 10 in a fully internalized way (i.e. without using fingers, an abacus, or else) is described.The authors see it as their goal to convince other parents and professionals that the attempt is well worth the trouble.A brief discussion of the method used will be given.

Byrne, A., MacDonald, J., Buckley, S.
Centre for Disability Studies, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, (UK)

Recent changes in the education placement of children with Down syndrome in the UK means that increasing numbers are attending their local mainstream schools rather than special schools. Mainstream schools generally place more emphasis on teaching academic skills and the children are now being taught to read alongside their ordinary peers from 4 years of age.This longitudinal study charts the development of cognitive and academic skills of a representative group of children with Down syndrome in mainstream education. Twenty-four children with Down syndrome were followed over a 2-year period and compared to (i) children matched for reading age (N=31) and, (ii) average readers (N=42), from the same school classes as the children with Down Syndrome. A battery of standardised assessments was administered annually to obtain measures of reading, language, memory, number skills, and general intelligence.The children with Down syndrome made slow but steady progress on all measures over the two years. The majority were able to obtain scores on the reading tests but there was a considerable range of ability. Two years after the initial assessment there was still no significant difference between the reading scores of the children with Down syndrome and the reading age control group indicating similar rates of progress in the two groups despite the children with Down syndrome being significantly delayed on all of the other measures.The results highlight the uneven profile of development of children with Down syndrome and suggest that reading is an area of particular strength for many of these children.This research was supported by a bursary from the University of Portsmouth to the first author and partly funded by the Down Syndrome Educational Trust, Sarah Duffen Centre.

Tunes, E., Tacca, M.C.V.R.*, Cores, C.I., Rabelo, G.M.
Grupo de Pesquisa e Consultoría Escolar. CLN 409 bl. B, sl 03 CEP 70857-520 Brasilia DF (Brasil)

En trabajos de apoyo a la alfabetización y expresión escrita de adolescentes con Síndrome de Down, se buscó actuar dentro de la visión dialéctica entre pensamiento y habla, buscando desarrollar el pensamiento lógico-verbal. Para un alfabetizando fueron propuestas tareas que requerían la consciencia fonológica, tomando la sílaba como unidad sonora en las actividades de lectura y escritura. Del reconocimiento de la extensión de una palabra, se pasó al análisis de la cantidad de sílabas, usando marcaciones sonoras de sus partes. Se presentaban situaciones de transformar palabras, poniendo, sacando o cambiando sílabas o letras, actividad esencial en el proceso de alfabetización. Esto permitió avances en el desarrollo de la consciencia fonológica en la lectura y escritura, demostrando su importancia en la aceleración del proceso del aprendizaje y su consolidación. Con una joven se pudo observar una expresión escrita que carecía de conexiones temporales dificultando la comprensión secuencial del texto. El relato de su trayecto escolar, reafirmó la dificultad de articulación temporal de los hechos. Al utilizar fotos como recursos mnemónicos, se observó la búsqueda de imágenes sucesivas, que no tuvieran lagunas entre sí. La palabra era desconsiderada en la reconstitución y ordenación de hechos. En una actividad con presentación de tres figuras retratando la secuencia de un acontecimiento, la joven debería contar, oralmente, y representar por escrito, lo que las figuras mostraban y, especialmente, los hechos intermediarios. Con esto se notó un considerable aumento en la utilización de conexiones temporales, especialmente en la escritura. Actualmente, hay más articulación en su expresión escrita desde el punto de vista logístico, lo que nos lleva a pensar que la actividad propició el desarrollo de la creatividad y el uso de marcadores temporales.
Revised: January 4, 2001.