As a mother, and an SLP with a passion to see children with Down syndrome succeed, I focus heavily on speech sounds. The speech sound system is often a confusing puzzle to children with Down syndrome. Hearing, distinguishing, and producing speech sounds can be challenging. Identifying individual sounds in words, and matching them with letters is a foundational literacy skill, that is also challenging. However, the way we approach instruction about speech sounds can make a huge difference not only for articulation, but for reading and spelling success.
I have long advocated the importance of targeted, intensive practice to develop our children's articulation accuracy. And in tandem, I have long advocated focusing on letter SOUNDS, and explicitly not teaching letter names to beginning readers.
I have just come across two blog posts that explain the importance of teaching letter sounds, and not letter names. I'll put links to both blog posts here:
I welcome your comments, and hearing about your experiences.
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Jill Hicks is the mother of a child with Down syndrome and a speech-language pathologist. Her passion is to empower others to help people with Down syndrome.