Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Early Reading May Improve Language Skills For Down Syndrome Children

Children born with the chromosomal disorder known commonly as Down Syndrome will face many developmental challenges throughout their lives. Down Syndrome occurs when a fertilized egg receives a third chromosome number 21. A normal fetus will only receive one chromosome number 21 from each parent, for a total of two. Children born with Down Syndrome display a number of medical conditions including vision disorders, thyroid disease, congenital heart disease, and hearing loss, just to name a few.

Most children develop language skills by listening to their parent's speech patterns, but hearing loss often makes this process far more difficult for children with Down Syndrome. Current medical studies indicate that early learning intervention may help Down Syndrome children learn language and memory skills at a crucial time in their brain's development.

Reading Rods Phonics Activity Set: Letters & Sounds may be a useful way for parents of Down Syndrome children to introduce basic reading skills. While not specifically manufactured for children with Down Syndrome, this set helps all children match letter sounds with pictures, and build simple words. Down Syndrome children seem to learn better with visual stimulation as compared to audio stimulation, and this innovative early reading aid also allows children to practice letter writing.

The See & Spell by Melissa and Doug also relies on visual stimulation to help children learn to read through letter/picture associations. A set of picture boards with simple words encourage children to match the wooden letters in the right order to form the word themselves. This could be a wonderful way for parents of Down Syndrome to introduce early reading skills to their child, even though it is not designed specifically for Down Syndrome children.

There is still much research to done to see just how much early reading programs can truly help Down Syndrome children develop to their full potential, but many studies seem to indicate that it is far better to intervene early while a child's brain is making the connections that all basic learning is built upon. Down Syndrome children especially need the extra help if they are to make the kind of meaningful developmental progress that could enrich their lives.

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