DS- Teaching Tools

Learning and memory require balance between inhibition and excitation in the brain.  In Down Syndrome, according to Dr Omar Khwaia, there appears to be excessive inhibition by GABA neurons.  How to overcome this?  Currently Roche is in clinical trials for a drug that decreased excessive inhibition in mouse models.  There are other options now but first you have to know the Down syndrome behavioral types.

Down Syndrome behavioral phenotypes are:

  1. Language deficits
  2. Social Strengths
  3. Visual processing is better than verbal processing
  4. Motor deficits
  5. Poor problem solving
  6. Task persistence

Down syndrome Strengths:

  • Visual spatial processing
  • Core social relationships
  • Receptive language

Relative Challenges:

  • Verbal processing
  • Expressive language
  • Motor function
  • Goal-directed behavior
  • Distractable
  • Stubborn/strong-willed streak

Lisa Daunhauer, ScD and Deborah Fidler, PhD have identified tasks parents and teachers can do to improve executive functioning in Down syndrome.  Executive functioning is the cognitive processes integral to adaptive, goal-oriented actions.

Executive functions are:

  • Working Memory
  • Motor Planning
  • Shifting
  • Inhibition

To improve EF in Down syndrome, Lisa and Deborah suggest:

For Inhibition:  Games like Red light/Green light and Duck, Duck, Goose plus daily routines that include an element of delay (sitting before television is turned on.)

For Working Memory:  Games like memory and Simon Says plus daily routines that include organizers, activity boards, and schedules. Prompts are good too; such as what goes next, what just happened; first this than that.

For Shifting:  Games that use a search or scan of objects on a page plus reading joke and riddle books.

About Poetry Road/Marty Goes to Mars

Poetry storage, genealogy research and tribute to my grandson with Down Syndrome . Creativity is my outlet--expressions in acrylics, accomplished quilter , doll maker and writer. Please visit my shop sites. Thank you for stopping in!
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1 Response to DS- Teaching Tools

  1. Hi Marty, I am Lauren and I found your comment on Frogs and the Tower Blog. I have a 30 year old son with Down syndrome. He actually is a very good problem solver. I believe his success is due to; growing up in midst of sibs without disabilities, being thrust in every “regular/typical” experience I could find and talk our way into. Include; Suzuki violin lessons [year and a half], overnights for movie night at the YMCA, 2 weeks at Y summer camp as only camper with significant disability, Sunday school integration, birthday parties… I was the “pain-in-the-asp” parent from heck all thru his school years. I took them to mediation and due process several times. I found very good people and very poor in the schools. Outside I found wonders. I took him to my pottery class, taught him to cook, and pushed very hard for him to be taught to read. When one teacher gave up, a Speech Path. took him on and by end of high school reading 300 word primers.
    My thought on your post- it’s good to know all the terminology and workings of the brain. It’s better to determine your goal with your grandson, and go from there. Best to you all.

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