An Inclusive Teaching Strategy for Learners with Down Syndrome

2021-07-09 08:33:57
7 pages
1879 words
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Vanderbilt University
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Term paper
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Synthesis and Reflction

Planning

In my practice, I identified the problem of children aged 7-15 years with Down Syndrome (DS). Down syndrome affects the ability of these individuals to learn and understand what they are taught unlike their peers of the same age. I aimed at addressing the issue these students had in fluency, pronunciation and accuracy in reading. Learners with DS experience hard times in various areas of development in their memory. The process I followed in choosing this practice is that these learners have a pattern that is specific to cognitive and behavioral features that make them experience the problem. Learners who have DS require help with their speech and learning that is affected by their processing of information causing them to lack the social skills and independence similar to their peers of the same age (Lubec 2008, p. 77).

An inclusive teaching strategy that can be used to address the issue of DS is visual learning. Learners with down syndrome usually have powerful modalities that enable them to understand visual tutoring (Margulies 2007, p. 115). Thus, my practice is characterized by a high emphasis on visual learning through demonstration of pictures and illustrations. The use of visual images is beneficial to developing learning concepts to these students. Learners will have the ability to contextualize words giving them the ability to decode phonics. I chose the practice since it will offer the learners ability to comprehend what they are taught easily using images. For instance, Joy has developed skills to read maps and charts through learning using pictorial aids.

Through visual learning, these students will be able to get the necessary information through the use of images, pictures and gestures. They will develop a better understanding of the images and pictures despite having DS. Visual learning enables the children to understand what they see in a simpler way (Burgoyne 2012, p. 317). Visual aid is accompanied by concrete symbols that assist in processing the images thus they can organize the way that they think and process information. Visual learning is beneficial to the learners since it will improve their understanding of words and aid their cognitive memory. Thus, visual learning gives them reassurance in their pursuit for education since it reduces anxiety while they learn new concepts.

However, learning through visual aid will have potential barriers that will affect the practice. Visual learning can promote the learners to develop inability to comprehend non-visual information in the curriculum. The inability is as a result of the children being subjected to the same method of learning. Also, the learners will experience boredom if they use the same mode of study for a continuous period. Thus, these two limitations can lead the learner not to comprehend what they are taught in other methods to help them develop the necessary education skills. They will lack the flexibility required to adapt to the non-traditional learning environment. Therefore, the educator and the pupil should embrace inherent flexibility to facilitate the learning process.

Therefore, to overcome the barriers that are associated with visual learning, it is essential for the teachers and parents to try other methods similar to visual aid that will facilitate their understanding. The barriers can be overcome through visual support accompanied by expressive language to enable the learners to understand augmentative communication. Also, the teachers and parents should provide the learners with multiple opportunities to communicate in small groups either at school or home. To ensure that a learner can comprehend what they are taught maintaining eye contact and face-to-face communication will be beneficial to their learning process (Kerins 2015, p. 72).

The impact of the approach will be measured regarding the way in which the learners will understand new information that they are taught. Also, the learners will be able to portray a methodical working pace that is associated with the learning process. They will have the ability to show strength in learning through visual aid and other methods like through music and imitation (Zaman 2009, p. 46). The improved outcome will be a result of their improved capacity to learn different and new information. Visual learning impact will also be seen in the way in which the learners will interact with their peers both at home and school. The learners will in most cases show a strong interaction after a period of learning through visual aid. These positive developments are essential to most learners who have down syndrome and are taught new information using visual aid. Therefore, the strategy of teaching down syndrome students using visual aid is an effective means that will ensure they can develop the ability to learn.

Based on the data I have gathered from the approach of teaching via visual aid, the strategy will support the learning process of students with down syndrome. I obtained the data while working with a group of learners with DS and they had low reading comprehension abilities. Learning through visual aid will enable the learners to develop cognitive behaviour that will influence their ability to learn (Buckley & Bird 2009, p. 135). The approach will allow the learners to develop proper processing of information to achieve a better cognitive knowledge that will help them to overcome the difficulties caused by down syndrome. The strategy will enable the learners to obtain the maximum benefit that will help them to acquire a better understanding ability that will improve their cognitive behaviour. The data will be useful to show the positive outcome associated with learning using visual aid and how it will enable learners with down syndrome to comprehend information in a much better way.

Implementation

During the implementation of the collected data I observed that learners with DS will improve their engagement and participation in the classroom while learning using visual assistance. I implemented the observation by using more visual aid to assist the students in their studies. The learners have a high visual memory skill that enables visual aid learning to be effective (Lewis & Norwich 2005, p. 96). Through the understanding of the visual information, they are taught what will help to improve their self-esteem since the confidence to learn has been enhanced. Also, visual learning approach can be used as the first step that will facilitate the learners to be taught using other strategies in the future of their studying period. The use of visual aid will assist the learners with DS to overcome their intellectual challenges.

From the approach on the research conducted, visual learning has raised awareness of reading and phonology to students with DS enabling them to develop a proper comprehension skill. Learners who have the problem of DS have difficulty in processing texts thus they are not able to decode accurately what they learn via other means. The challenge is usually contributed by their short-term memory (Kerins 2015, p. 122). Therefore, visual learning worked well in the strategy since the learners were also able to demonstrate an ability to comprehend what they are taught verbally over time. However, fine motor skills did not work well in the approach thus it impacted their development of handwriting skills. Developing these motor skills could have been more effective to ensure that the learners with DS can comprehend what they are taught by other methods. Thus, through working with children who have DS their ability to learn new information with the help of visual aid. The practice improved their ability to understand what they are taught thus influencing their participation in the class.

Reflection

Learners who have DS should be in an inclusion model that is fully supportive to ensure they can comprehend what they are taught. An inclusion environment will ensure that the students are not stigmatized by their condition and they will be in a natural setting similar to their peers (Deiner 2010, p. 85). Also, through the help of inclusion it will enable the learners with DS to develop a much stable relationship with their peers. The process of inclusion with other students shows that they will be able to develop the learning and writing skills at a fast rate. Thus, the students can gain significant development skills both in the structure and clarity of their learning process. Also, it will improve their cognitive and social development skills at a fast rate which will have a positive impact on their learning.

Learners who have DS should learn together with their peers who are not disabled since it will provide them with the necessary individual support. Special learning programs and schools usually faces various difficulties to students with down syndrome since they do not create a learning environment that is effective (Deiner 2010, p. 89). Therefore, inclusion will provide the learners with the social acceptance that will have huge impact on their self-confidence and self-esteem. The inclusion will provide the teachers with an understanding of the learner's special skills and strengths that can be used to help them with their issues. Offering children with DS equal opportunity have enabled them to improve on there reading patterns at a highly recommendable rate

I have been able to gain knowledge on how to deal with learners who have DS with the help of inclusion. The knowledge will be helpful to assist in promoting effective learning skills to learners with DS through undertaking activities that are meaningful based on their experiences with their peers. The use of visual resources is an important approach that will assist students in comprehending the concepts tasks necessary to improve the learner's skills. From the inclusion the learners with down syndrome were able to learn and observe what their peers were doing thus mimicking these behaviors (Sikora 2016, p. 65). Thus, the process helps to offer the learners with the ability to overcome the challenges they face while interacting with others.

I gained new skills that will be beneficial to my practice of assisting learners with down syndrome. From the process of inclusion I was able to understand the need to have the approach since the learners can imitate the skills they observe from their peers. The learners with DS will be interacting with their peers and have the ability to learn various social skills necessary for their learning process (Sikora 2016, p. 70). The inclusion provides the learners with an opportunity to develop the friendship with their peers without disabilities to help them with their development. Through implementing these skills in my practice, I will be able to offer the necessary assistance learners with disabilities require.

My attitudes and values about inclusion have changed since I have been able to observe the great impact inclusion will have to learners with DS. In inclusive settings, learners with DS will be able to improve on their academic performance. Also, inclusion will assist peers without the disability to gain an understanding of how to tolerate their classmates with DS and offer them support. Inclusion is a huge step that will facilitate improving the life of students with down syndrome since it will create a comfortable environment to learn and understand the necessary skills. The positive influence of inclusion had the essential impact on my attitudes and values to advocate for the need to have social inclusion to learners with DS. From the literature, the role of attitudes and values in inclusion have offered a flexible learning system that enables instructors to offer personalized instructions to learners with DS.

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