Down syndrome is a common genetic disorder. The root cause of Down syndrome is related to chromosomal abnormalities. About one out of every thousand births is a Down syndrome birth. For the most part, those with Down syndrome will tend to suffer from mild to moderate mental retardation. Certain facial and physical features are commonly seen in those with Down syndrome. This includes characteristics such as a flat facial profile, thick epicanthal folds, low muscle tone, and a protruding tongue.
Those with Down syndrome should not be excluded from participation in extra curricular activities in which their peers are involved. Teachers and those involved with the individual should therefore be fully supportive of the individual in this regard. An environment of inclusion and integration is less likely to stigmatize those with Down syndrome. This will contribute positively to their development and general behavioral patterns. Peer relationships will be improved as a result, which is another way that development and behavior can be improved.
Those with Down syndrome often suffer from a lowered level of self esteem. This is often a result of perceived negatives surrounding the individual's physical characteristics. Thus, it is important to boost self confidence and self esteem whenever possible. This is true for both parents and caregivers and supervisors. A variety of strategies can be used to do so.
There are many intellectual challenges with which the Down syndrome person is faced. Similar strategies can be used with regard to those suffering from normal learning disabilities and those with Down syndrome. One should always strive to ensure that a Down syndrome individual develops as much as possible. It should never be assumed that a child is incapable of performing a specific task, or acquiring a particular skill. It might be advised to use as many real world situations as possible. When instructing a Down syndrome learner, speak slowly and use language that is appropriate for the situation. If necessary, break down large tasks into smaller ones in order to ease learning.
Many Down syndrome students suffer from short attention spans. With this in mind, direct instruction should only be undertaken in short bursts, or over short periods of time. Progess gradually and sequentially, as this will ensure maxiumum learning. Down syndrome students are often easily distracted, and might also suffer from problems with speech or language development. Behavior management techniques are the same for both Down syndrome students and those not considered to be Down syndrome.