Improving education for children with Down syndrome – the power of parent/professional collaboration.
During the school year 2012-2013, LLQ supported a pilot which allowed DSEUSA to bring RLI – a reading and language program designed and evaluated in the UK – to Texas. Two UK based psychologists supervised the pilot and it is now successfully completed.
Thanks to the determination of the parents of LLQ and the support of the Board and Special Education team at NEISD, we trained educators and evaluated RLI with 10 children with Down syndrome in 10 elementary schools. We compared the reading and language progress of the children during a baseline period, while they continued with their usual teaching, with their progress on RLI.
We had an enthusiastic response from the educators who took part. They completed questionnaires for us at the end of the pilot. All felt they had been able to implement RLI effectively and that the child they taught had benefitted. The children’s parents also rated the benefits for their children positively and their ratings closely correspond with those of the teachers.
In addition, the psychologists from the UK assessed the children on a range of language and reading measures. The group of 10 children with Down syndrome, aged from 5 to 9 years, varied quite widely in reading and language abilities at the start of the year. The gains that they made across the year also varied with some making faster progress than others as we would expect. Some made more progress during RLI on reading measures and some on language measures. The full data is being submitted to an education journal.
While in the US for the pilot work, the UK team were also asked to train educators across Texas to deliver RLI and to train US based RLI trainers to continue this work. This means that large numbers of children with Down syndrome and similar disabilities will benefit. None of this would have happened without the LLQ parents. DSEUSA and the UK team would like to thank them and NEISD for the welcome they have had in Texas – it has been a very rewarding project.
For further information on RLI see http://www.dseusa.org/en-us/resources/teaching/rli/