Top Five Instructional Strategies for Students with Down Syndrome

Students with Down syndrome are visual learners.Children with Down syndrome are capable learners who are excited and eager to learn. They just need to be given the opportunity to excel. They may learn at a slower pace, but are more than capable of learning. They are strong visual learners. This means that they understand what they see better than what they hear.The average IQ for children with Down syndrome ranges from 25 to 80, whereas the average IQ for a student with Down syndrome is around 50. In children without an intellectual disability, the average IQ would be around 100.

Children with Down syndrome have specific points associated with their learning development:

  1. They are visual learners.
  2. They understand a lot more than they can say.
  3. They are able to follow classroom rules and routines.
  4. They need help to remember instructions – use shorter phrases or visual clues.
  5. Teacher’s expectations of behavior, attitude and ability should be  high.

Children with Down syndrome can learn. However, we need to make compromises so that their educational needs can be met in the classroom.  Since they are visual learners, teaching reading to students with Down syndrome should be characterized by a strong emphasis on visual learning. Visual demonstrations, pictures and illustrations can also be successfully used to assist in providing effective instruction in other subject areas of the curriculum. Lessons in phonics should be included in the curriculum for the learner with Down syndrome .

The use of manipulatives and activity learning can be beneficial in the development of number concepts. The use of physical demonstrations and activities are important when teaching math concepts.

Students with Down syndrome generally demonstrate good social skills, which can be utilized to increase learning and teaching opportunities. When speaking to a student with Down syndrome, it is important to speak directly to them using clear language and short sentences. You should allow adequate time for the child to process what you have said and respond. Positive reinforcements should be used for students with Down to boost their self-esteem and positive learning experience. This should be done both at home and school.

Read more at Article: Doctor’s column: Learners with Down Syndrome .

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  1. Anthony Guisao says:

    Folks, understand frustration on terms; however, let’s focus on the content in hand. Great information and sincerely appreciate the tips provided. Will definitely start incorporating these into my strategy when tackling my son’s education. And yes he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21 (which ever you fancy – God Forbid we breach political correctness here).

  2. Thank you for the concise five point list. “Success breeds success”

  3. this is so true i am a mother of a 12 year old girl and i never made a difference and she has some delays but she dont know it. she is in a charter school that works at her pace.

  4. I am curious why an article with such valuable valid information is failing to consistently use “People First” language. Unfortunately, this may prevent the information from being valued by many advocates and educated people. The use of the term “Down’s” has been rejected by the disability community for quite a while, though some, particularly in the medical community have been slow to catch up with the idea of strength based person focused language. I expect more from information coming from an educational source.

  5. Renita Maassen says:

    the overall information in this article is good but we have to use ‘people first’ language.
    children WITH Down syndrome. we should not be using the word ‘downs’ anymore! ever.

    I agree and I apologize. This article was re-published from another source & was not properly proofed. We should always use people first language.

  6. Kara Jones says:

    Please use people-first language in your articles! “…average IQ for a Down’s Syndrome student…”

    And spell Down syndrome correctly! It is not Down’s Syndrome with an apostrophe and a capital S on syndrome.

    Thank you!

    • I agree and I apologize. This article was re-published from another source & was not properly proofed. We should always use people first language.