Down Syndrome in the Classroom

What tech. supports meaningful learning for DS students?


you are my sunshine (instrumental) by tubaob

What it mean to make learning meaningful?

Meaningful learning focuses on learning that will not just help you get by to the next grade, but rather excel through life. You learn skills that will help in throughout your school years an life. When learning is meaningful, a person engages in active, constructive, cooperative, intentional, and authentic activities. They learn problem solving, critical thinking, goal setting, collaborating, and so much more. In the 21st century, the use of technology in the classrooms are on the rise as there is a desire to restore meaningful learning. It's essential in every classroom, but lets zoom in and focus on Down syndrome students in special education classrooms.

How does technology help DS learn meaningful things?

Technology has the power to teach those with DS things faster than a teacher alone can. Examples include fine motor, communication, collaboration, and computer skills. These are skills that are very important to the future lives of those with DS. I believe that introducing them to technology as soon as possible, the better equipped and adjusted they can be when they get older.
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Apps Available to students with DS

Speak It! is an app that turns text into clear and concise speech. You can copy documents, emails, or any text into Speak It and it will reiterate the words! I believe that this could be a really useful app for Down syndrome students who struggle with reading or need assistance in communicating their needs, wants, and ideas with others. This app opens up many possibilities in the Down syndrome world by helping with their communication skills and possibly speeding up the process.

Smart Steps is an amazing app that specializes in decision-making. It gives an everyday problem that people face in their communities, on the way to work or school, or hanging out with friends and then helps them make a decision. I find this app essential to special education classrooms because it builds on to the critical thinking and problem solving of DS students and others with special disabilities. It teaches them skills that they can apply at school, home, and everywhere else and encourages independence. Just imagine the growth of DS students by supplying them with this app in the classroom. The results would be mind-blowing!

Injini is an app that offers various of different games and puzzles that help students with cognitive delays learn fine motor skills, matching, cause and effect, spatial skills, visual processing, memory skills, and so much more. It is a great app to use with DS students and others in a special education classroom, as well as with a typical preschool or kindergarten class. It offers fun, yet challenging games that have progressing levels that encourage critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, authentic learning, and creativity. This app is a little bit on the expensive side, but I believe that it is worth every penny because it is extremely beneficial to those with special needs.

Suggested Technologies to Use In Special Education to Benefit Down Syndrome Students

1. Smartboards

  • helps build creativity
  • applies UDL principles
  • fine and gross motor skills
  • collaboration skills
  • communication skills

2. Intel Reader

  • increases reading independence
  • text-to-speech
  • helps with spelling
  • allows critical thinking

What to Know more?

If you would like to know more about Down syndrome and technology in special education classrooms, some great Twitter handles to follow are @seaofbc , @LuMindsRDS, and @NDSS. Great hashtags to follow is #downsyndrome, #edtech, and #trisomy21.