The development of learning difliculties in children with Down's syndrome

Authors

  • J. G. WISHART

    Corresponding author
    1. Edinburgh Centre for Research in Child Development, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
      Dr Jennifer G. Wishart, Edinburgh Centre for Research in Child Development, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, Scotland.
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Dr Jennifer G. Wishart, Edinburgh Centre for Research in Child Development, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, Scotland.

ABSTRACT

This paper examines individual developmental profiles drawn from a series of longitudinal studies of cognitive development and problem-solving in children with Down's syndrome (DS) from birth to 11 years of age. These highlight the difficulties in explaining DS development in terms of a slowed-down version of normal development and illustrate how, from a very early age, developmental progress in DS is undermined by the children's failure to exercise and maintain existing skills and by their counter-productive approach to learning new skills. Developmental instability and inefficient learning were found to characterize performance on contingency detection tasks, on tests of obiect concept development, and on standardized intelligence tests. Implications of the findings for assessment, educational practice and developmental theory are discussed.

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