Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Study will shed light on how children with Down syndrome learn

Researchers at DU’s Morgridge College of Education are conducting a study that will compare two early literacy intervention approaches to educating young children with Down syndrome.

The study is underwritten by a $130,000 gift from the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Educational Fund, $10,000 from the McDonnell Foundation and $10,000 from the University of Denver.

“There has been little to no research on how our children with Down syndrome learn, especially regarding reading and language,” says Michelle Sie Whitten, executive director of the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation and advisory committee chair of the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Educational Fund. “There have been significant breakthroughs in terms of how children with other developmental disabilities learn, and I strongly believe that our kids deserve the same attention.”

The result of this pilot study, Whitten says, could have a profound effect on the academic achievement of children with Down syndrome.

“What is so exciting and unique about this particular study is that scientifically based research on early learning intervention has been translated into applied research in areas such as autism, but never before in Down syndrome research,” says principal investigator Karen Riley, assistant professor of child, family and school psychology at DU.

Researchers are seeking children in the Denver area, ages 2-1/2 to 5, to participate in the study, which will involve a two-day training session at DU followed by at-home implementation of the program (approximately 15 minutes per day for 10 months). There is no cost to participate. Contact Staci Jordan at 303-871-3465 for information.

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