Parents of Young Children With Down Syndrome Need Support to Enable Them to Enhance the Home Literacy Environment

Feb 21 2020 Posted: 17:24 GMT

An NUI Galway study has been published in the Irish Educational Studies peer-reviewed academic journal calling for the provision of a range of supports for parents of young children with Down Syndrome to enable them to enhance the home literacy environment.

We are delighted to see our paper exploring Shared reading practices between parents and young children with Down Syndrome in Ireland published in Irish Educational Studies.

The paper is based on Ms Sinead Lusby’s M.Ed. study (supervised by Dr. Manuela Heinz) conducted at the School of Education, NUI Galway.

Ms Lusby is a Primary school teacher in Scoil Chaitri̒ona Junior, Renmore, Galway with 23 years teaching experience in mainstream, learning support, resource and EAL.

The focus of this study was influenced by professional and personal factors.  In her role as a primary school teacher, Ms. Lusby has witnessed the immense benefits of parent-child shared reading in the literacy development of both typically developing children and children with special needs.  Further, as a parent of a young girl with Down syndrome, with whom she introduced shared reading at an early age, she has seen first-hand the significant benefits of shared reading in promoting the development of her daughter’s emergent literacy skills.  Additionally, the significant interest of many parents of young children with Down syndrome, particularly in the Galway Down syndrome branch, in supporting the literacy development of their children, and the call for assistance from parents in this regard, further reinforced Sinead’s motivation to undertake this research study.  In particular, Sinead strongly believed that there was a need to quantify current nationwide shared reading practices in order to explore the need for parental education and support in this area.  We are delighted and very proud to see this important research published in Irish Educational Studies.

Dr Heinz, supervisor of Ms Lusby’s M.Ed. study says that: Ms Lusby’s study provides very important baseline data regarding the current reading practices of parents with their young children with Down Syndrome which may be used in the planning and implementation of parental education programmes.  Findings point to high levels of commitment among parents to reading with their children and a call for further guidance and support.  The paper outlines specific recommendations regarding the provision of parental support which we hope can make a significant contribution towards enhancing the development of the emergent literacy skills of young children with Down syndrome.

School of Education

School of Education

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