This module provides a programme of activities and advice designed to assist the development of speech and language skills for children with Down syndrome from birth to five years. The advice and activities are based on knowledge of the processes affecting speech and language development in typically developing children, the identified difficulties of children with Down syndrome and current research findings from studies evaluating effective remedial strategies. It also includes checklists for evaluating and recording children's development of interactive communication skills, speech sounds, vocabulary, sentences and grammar. The programme will enable parents, teachers and therapists to help children with Down syndrome to learn to talk, to talk in sentences, and to develop their speech clarity and conversational skills. It starts with activities to develop the foundation skills in infancy that lead on to talking, including the use of gesture and sign to support comprehension, and with an emphasis on speech sound work from infancy. Building a spoken vocabulary to 400 words by 5 years of age is seen as a priority, in order to develop grammar and phonology, and a recommended vocabulary programme with record sheets is included. The ways in which reading activities should be used to support all aspects of speech and language learning during preschool years are mentioned but the detailed advice on teaching early reading is in the reading module. This module follows on from Speech and language development for individuals with Down syndrome - An overview [DSii-03-01] which should be read first, to provide the reader with an adequate understanding of speech and language development to be successful in using this programme.
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Sue Buckley is a psychologist, Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disability in the Psychology Department at the University of Portsmouth, UK and Director of Research and Training at The Down Syndrome Educational Trust. Sue has been actively involved in researching the developmental and educational needs of children with Down syndrome since 1980. She is an internationally recognised authority and has published widely for parents, professionals and researchers. One of Sue's three children, Roberta, is a young adult with Down syndrome. Gillian Bird is a psychologist and Director of Consultancy and Education at The Down Syndrome Educational Trust. Gillian has been working with children with Down syndrome, from birth to teenage years, and their families since 1983. She has developed and supported the successful inclusion of children with Down syndrome in mainstream education since 1988. Gillian has also developed early intervention programmes and been active in research, publishing and training with colleagues.
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