LLQ USA is a 501(c)3 which was formed solely for improving the lives of children with Down syndrome. Our name, LLQ USA, is an acronym for Living, Learning, eQuipping Children with Down syndrome for full inclusive lives.
Our mission is to bring a reading and language teaching intervention (RLI) to the United States education system which was recently developed and evaluated in a large randomized controlled trial in the United Kingdom by researchers at Down Syndrome Education (DSE) and the University of York. This was a landmark study, and the research findings from the UK have recently been published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. The results of the study can be summarized as follows:
- After only 20 weeks, children with Down syndrome taught using the program had made substantially more progress than those receiving typical classroom literacy instruction (which included 1:1 support)
- On average, the children using the program gained 4.5 words on a standardized reading measure in 20 weeks – more than twice as many as those not using the program(this measure is equal to a typically developing child’s progress)
- Although only 60% of children with Down syndrome were able to score on a standardized reading test at start of the study, 90% could score after receiving the intervention – 50% more children
- By the end of the study, 1 in 5 children with Down syndrome had achieved word reading skills as good as typically developing children
This study demonstrates that the reading skills of children with Down syndrome can be dramatically improved in a short period of time with more effective teaching techniques. Imagine if they could be taught this way from the start of their academic education.
Our pilot study to convert the work done in the UK to the USA education system will be conducted in San Antonio, Texas in a small random trial at the North East Independent School District (NEISD) campuses beginning in August, 2012, and completing in July, 2013. Dr. Kelly Burgoyne, PhD, who co-managed the trial in the UK, will be collaborating on this pilot with Dr. Judith Moening, Director of Special Education at NEISD, and her team, along with researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
This pilot study will be a landmark in the United States, as there is no known evidence based intervention in place in the US education system that is geared specifically towards children with Down syndrome. The program is theoretically-motivated, and based on principles of best practice adapted for the learning profile of children with Down syndrome. It is designed for children with Down syndrome between the ages of 5 to 11; however the initial pilot will be limited to ages 5 to 8 at the NEISD campuses. If successful, we are hopeful this study will lead to a larger trial in the United States with the potential to support many more children with Down syndrome.
For further detailed information please contact Marie Livingston, at 210-823-5555, the executive director of LLQ USA.