Teaching Life Skills to Persons With Down Syndrome

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When teaching life skills to a person with down syndrome, use demonstrations to show them how to do something and then have them repeat the skill. Avoid assuming that a person with down syndrome will demonstrate a life skill in the same way it was taught, and use advice from a university campus president in this free video on life skills.

Part of the Video Series: How to Teach Life Skills
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Video Transcript

Hi. This is Dr. Darren Adamson, from Argosy University. Today I want to speak with you about teaching life's skills to an individual with down syndrome. This is a syndrome that creates some very unique challenges, in helping the individual to learn life skills. Down syndrome individuals are easily distracted, and so you need an environment where they can focus in on what you're attempting to teach them. An environment that is free of a lot of external stimulation, so they can focus in on you and the thing that you're attempting to teach them. Keep in mind also, that down syndrome individuals really have a variety of capacities for understanding. So don't assume that the lowest functioning down syndrome individual, represents all down syndrome individuals. Understand your student. Start there. With the down syndrome individual, it's particularly important that you demonstrate the life skill. Show them, show them what it looks like. Show them "how" to use that particular life skill to function in their lives. And then after you've shown them, describe it, so they can also understand it intellectually at their level. Then once you've described it, let them demonstrate the skill to you. Keeping in mind that each individual will demonstrate that life skill in a different way. Don't assume that they have to do it exactly as you anticipated. Just make sure they can do it so they can function independently, when they're out there on their own. For more information, contact me through Argosy.EDU. Look for the Salt Lake City campus and call me at that phone number.

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