Education: Down Syndrome
Education Main: Down Syndrome

Learning How You Learn
Auditory and Visual Digit Spans – What Do They Mean?

Robert J. Doman, Jr.

How well we learn is a direct reflection of how well our brains receive, process, store and utilize information. Many learning problems are related to the basic brain functions of processing what there is to see and hear. This article discusses how auditory and visual short-term memory relate to learning, and what problems can be caused by visual or auditory processing difficulties. Specific directions are given to enable a parent to evaluate their child's auditory and visual short-term memory by testing auditory and visual digit spans. Methods are given for improving auditory and visual function in infants, toddlers, children and adults. Many children and adults today struggle with unidentified processing difficulties (i.e., learning disabilities) that could be identified and eliminated with these very simple procedures.

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Health Issues & Learning

Ellen Doman

Every child has a right to a great education. Every parent hopes that their child will make great progress. What are some factors related to health that can impact on a child’s learning?

Many parents view ear infections as a normal health issue for young children. Ear infections are certainly not uniquely an issue for children with DS. Many parents may recall having ear infections themselves as a child. Ear infections and fluid in the ear that does not even result in an ear infection can have a profound effect on a child’s ability to learn and a child’s ability to develop good speech. This occurs due to the distortion of sound as it moves through fluid behind the eardrum.

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Continuing to Educate

Ellen Doman

One of the ongoing battles in raising a child with Down Syndrome is the fight to continue to present academic content to an older child. It has long been the custom of school districts to largely abandon inputting new information to children with DS as they reach the middle school and high school years in favor of providing “life skills.”

Districts across the United States move students with DS from traditional educational pursuits to “life skills” as if this were a reasonable course of action. In studies done as far back as 1995-1996, researchers such as Carr, Bochner, Pieterse as well as Fowler, Doherty and Boynton found that there was a wide range of reading abilities among young adults with DS. Dunn and Dunn in 1981 found that reading abilities in a group of individuals with DS ranging in ages from 17 to 25 varied greatly.

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