Behavioral Patterns of Children with Down SyndromeStudent :EuridikiDamoulianou Instructor : Barbara Kondilis Course : Developmental Psychology 1 Winter 2011
Definition of Down-Syndrome
Features & traits of children with Down syndrome
Previous literature findings
Our observational study:
IntroductionWhat is Down Syndrome?
It is a set of mental and physical symptoms that result from having an extra copy of chromosome 21
in other words…
A set of physical, mental and behavioral characteristics that are due to a specific genetic abnormality (Leshin, 2003).
Introduction historical background of Down-Syndrome
In 1866 John Langdon Down described a group of children with common traits that differed from other children with mental retardation.
In the beginning, children with Down syndrome were referred as “mongoloids” because they looked like people from Mongolia but, the term was changed to Down’s syndrome.
Introductionhistorical background…some photos…
Introduction An overview
Every cell in the human body contains genetic material stored in genes that carry inherited traits which are grouped in structures called chromosomes.
The nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent (www.ndss.org).
Down syndrome is caused when an embryo has threecopies of chromosome 21 instead of two. This supplemental chromosome 21 changes the embryo’s development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome (www.ndss.org).
Introduction Associated Features
Flattened face & nose
Short neck & poor muscle tone
Small mouth sometimes with a large tongue
Small ears & short fingers
Upward eyes that may have small skin folds at the inner corner
White spots in the iris(www.medicinenet.com).
IntroductionAssociated Features (cont.)
Increased risk for various medical states such as (www.ndss.org):
Introduction Associated Features (cont.)
Cognitive delays and difficulties in:
developing basic language skills & motor skills & learning abilities (such as memory & concentration problems ).
solving problems & the comprehension of consequences of their actions (Iarocci, Reebye & Virji-Babul, 2006).
Introduction previous literature Children with Down syndrome:
Experience limited peer involvement & have difficulties in socializing with their peers.
Have fewer peer contacts and engage in very few activities with other children.
Have the tendency to exhibit problematic behaviors such as stubbornness, inattention, difficulties concentrating, attention-seeking, and impulsivity (Guralnick, 2002).
Children with Down syndrome have difficulties in interacting with each other and display abnormal behavior and significant impairment when disturbed.
Ten children (aged 7-18 years old) with Down syndrome.
Five boys & five girls of greek nationality from different socio-economical backgrounds.
A Likert-scale from zero (absolutely not) to five (absolutely yes) was used.
The emotions observed & evaluated were:
The behavioral patterns and interaction with the others observed and evaluated using the Likert scale were:
self & group play
aggressiveness among the children with Down syndrome.
Methodprocedure We visited a school with children with special needs in order to observe their general behavior in the classroom environment. We had a brief discussion with one of their teachers to describe us the behavioral and emotional predispositions that children with Down-Syndrome display. We stayed there for about 2 hours observing 10 children carefully. We used the Likert scale where the behavioral patterns which we wanted to observe were written down to a list.
The first 30 minutes their teacher read them a story & asked to describe him their emotions or thoughts about this story
Afterwards the children did a couple of activities such as :
talking with each other
playing some computer games
some group games such as monopoly
reading some books with short stories and a lot of images
Their teacher tried to disturb them to test their reactions:
He took away the books that two children were reading & the painting that another child was holding.
He increased the tone of his voice.
Did some quick movements inside the class.
When we finished our observation….
We went to another classroom to evaluate the behavioral patterns that children with Down syndrome displayed.
The independent variable of the proposed study was the teacher’s behavior and the dependent variable was the behavioral patterns of children with Down syndrome, their reactions and social interactions.
Children were quiet & shy
Were not aggressive
Did not articulate verbally their emotions
They expressed their emotions mainly through body language and facial expressions
Children interacted with each other quite well
They seemed to enjoy both the self–play and the group-play
They got only upset if someone got away their things or spoke to them aggressively but they forgot it very easily
They constantly asked for hugs & affection !!
After their teacher read them a story & asked from them to express their emotions about it, 8 out of the 10 subjects used facial expressions and body language to show their feelings.
When their teacher tried to examine their reactions (how they react if someone disturbs them), we found out that if someone tries to take away their personal things or speak to them aggressively:
they get upset and frustrated
do quick movements
show their anxiety with facial expressions associated with anger
tremble a bit
But... if afterwards you show affection and hug them (like their teacher did), they calm down very easily.
discussion Our hypothesis was not proven !! The children in our observational study seemed to interact with each other, be happy, calm and not display aggressiveness or any other problematic behavior. Nine out of the ten subjects had a moderate mental retardation so we cannot estimate or predict how children with higher mental retardation would behave. We conducted our study in a natural setting BUT we still do not know how these children would interact with or behave in their homes or in other settings apart from school.
Our study has a limited external validity (sample of 10 individuals) & we do not know if our results can be applied to all children with Down syndrome.
Scientists should investigate larger sample of children with Down-Syndrome
to various environments
with various degrees of mental retardation
The behavioral patterns and the degree of interaction that children with Down syndrome display are not due merely to their medical condition BUT also to the stimuli & warmth they get from their families and their environment !!
Some additional photos…
Thanks… Thank you ladies !!! And please …. Do to not forget to show support to people who really need it like the children with Down syndrome !!!
References Dykens, E. M. (2007). Psychiatric and behavioral disorders in persons with Down syndrome. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 13, 272- 278. Guralnick, M. J. (2002). Involvement with peers: Comparisons between young children with and without Down’s syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 45(5), 379- 393. Iarocci, G., Reebye, P., & Virji-Babul, N. (2006). The learn at play program (LAPP): Merging family, developmental research, early intervention, and policy goals for children with Down syndrome. Journalof Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 3(1), 11-21. Leshin, L. (2003). Trisomy 21: The story of Down syndrome. Retrieved February 25, 2011 from http://www.ds-health.com. Medline Plus. (2011). Down syndrome. Retrieved February 25, 2011from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/downsyndrome.html. Medicine Net. (2011). What are the characteristic features and symptoms of Down syndrome? Retrieved February 25, 2011 from http://www.medicinenet.com/down_syndrome/page3.htm.
References National Down Syndrome Society. (2011).What causes Down syndrome. Retrieved February 25, 2011 from http://www.ndss.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60:what-causes-ds&catid=35: about-down-syndrome. National Health System. (2011). Symptoms of Down’s syndrome. Retrieved February 25, 2011from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Downssyndrome/Pages/Symptoms.aspx Vicari, S. (2006). Motor development and neuropsychological patterns in persons with Down syndrome. Behavior Genetics, 36(3), (doi: 10. 1037/a0021109). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXXl05wIJ7E http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWe-lZslQUg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_52evvWw1w