Literacy behaviors of two first-grade children with down syndrome




Wright, Sarah

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The purpose of this study was to describe the literacy behaviors of 2 children with Down syndrome. Literacy behaviors were identified as the children participated in their regular first-grade classrooms during the first 6 weeks of school. A case study approach to research included data collected from formal and informal assessments, classroom observations, field notes, interviews, and artifacts. Qualitative and quantitative data were used to compare the reading and writing behaviors of 2 girls with Down syndrome with non-handicapped and handicapped children in first grade; to tell how 2 children with Down syndrome are included in literacy instruction as they participated in 2 different first-grade classrooms during the first 6 weeks of school; to determine if the 2 children with Down syndrome would show improvement in reading and writing during the first 6 weeks of school; and to describe the mothers' expectations and roles in the education of their children with Down syndrome during the first 6 weeks of school.

To establish a baseline for comparison, the study included 19 children who attended school and were in regular classrooms the majority of the day. Of the 19 first graders, 5 children were not receiving any type of remedial or special education services. The remaining 14 children were identified as having at least one handicapping condition and were receiving special education services. The 2 girls with Down syndrome were the subjects of the case studies.

The results of the study indicated a need for instruction in the regular classroom that will help children with Down syndrome develop expressive and receptive language skills, and a need for the development of social skills. Observations and interviews revealed that it was not an easy task to teach children with Down syndrome in the regular classroom environment. Problems that dealt primarily with adult issues were identified and implications were discussed. The results of the study also provided evidence that 2 girls who were diagnosed with Down syndrome could become literate alongside their peers.



Education, Inclusion, Special education, Reading instruction