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Promoting Communicative Development in Toddlers with Down Syndrome by Integrating Physical Therapy and Sign Intervention

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Promoting Communicative Development in Toddlers with Down Syndrome by Integrating Physical Therapy and Sign Intervention

Elena V. Shamro
Center of Social Rehabilitation of the Disabled Children, Saint Petersburg

Lyudmila V. Shapkova
Institute of Special Pedagogy and Psychology named after R. Wallenberg, Saint Petersburg

Anna A. Balyakova, Elena A. Ogorodnikova, Elvira I. Stolyarova
Pavlov Institute of Physiology of Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg

Stephen von Tetzchner
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo


Background. A physical therapy program was developed at the Center of Social Rehabilitation in Saint Petersburg which includes exercises designed to forming and improving motor skills in children with Down syndrome. The exercises are intended for training in close cooperation with parents and family group sessions.
Aim. To observe the dynamic development of communication skills in pre-school children with Down syndrome following motor training and intervention with manual signs and gestures.
Methods. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the children’s use of manual signs and gestures were made on the basis of video recordings in various situations. The manual sign intervention followed the methods developed by Irene Johansson and Stephen von Tetzchner. The observations were compared with the scores on the KID scale and parent questionnaires.
Results. The analyses show positive trends in the children’s communicative behavior, improved social adaptation and inclusion in the preschool.
Conclusion. Combining family-centered physical therapy and augmentative and alternative communication showed positive effects on the communicative behavior social skills and adaptation of young children with Down syndrome, and their inclusion in the preschool.

Author(s):

Elena V. Shamro    
Center of Social Rehabilitation of the Disabled Children
Russian Federation

Lyudmila V. Shapkova    
Institute of Special Pedagogy and Psychology named after R. Wallenberg
Russian Federation

Anna A. Balyakova    
Pavlov Institute of Physiology of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Elena A. Ogorodnikova    
Pavlov Institute of Physiology of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Elvira I. Stolyarova    
Pavlov Institute of Physiology of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Stphen von Tetzchner    
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo
Norway

 

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