Individuals with Down syndrome CAN become amazing readers! By teaching your child to read at a young age you will not only teach reading - you may even enhance speech! Not all children with Down syndrome will be able to commence reading at 6 months of age. However, it is important to understand that when you start 'early' you will not only benefit their reading skills, but also their speech and general communication skills. Whatever age your child begins to read, even if it is during their teen years, just know that it will allow a whole new world to open up to them!
Research involving reading and Down syndrome has shown (Buckley, SJ, Bird G. 1993) that approximately 70% of children with Down syndrome will end up with significant hearing difficulties at some point in their lives. As such, these children have stronger visual processing skills and better visual memory than auditory processing and memory skills. If a child cannot depend on hearing the correct phonetic sounds that correspond with phonemes, it is therefore much more difficult for them to process and remember that information for later recall and use. This is where the importance of introducing the whole word comes in.
By establishing a group of 'sight' words that are familiar with a child's world, such as names, foods, actions, colors, animals and belongings, you will begin to train their brain to understand that a word represents 'something'. Once that core group of single words is established, your child is guided into couplets , phrases and sentences. During this process, five dolch words are added into the group of words, ultimately allowing the building of sentences. (These words consist of: is, are, and, the and The.) Through a carefully structured presentation schedule, eReadingPro ensures that your child has seen every core word over 100 times before they see it within a sentences. The sentences are presented within fun and colorful books that you will create using the images provided.
After your child masters the core words individually, we encourage you to examine each word with them to see how the letters and sounds fit together to make up that word. This will assist your child in decoding unfamiliar words down the road and improve their phonemic awareness.
If you are interested in a solution where reading and Down syndrome are concerned, eReadingPro provides a systematic approach for parents to use not only at home with their children, but one that can be used at the school as well - ensuring continuity. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy using our system! Take a look at our program choice for reading and Down syndrome.
The above video is of a 5-year old boy with Down syndrome who is also deaf, learning to read using eReadingPro.
The above video is of a 3-year old boy with Down syndrome reading three-word phrases using our program.
This is the same boy 11 months later when he is completing the program by reading 8+ word sentences. Notice how his articulation has improved!