Managing children with Down’s Syndrome: Identifying the optometrical considerations and exploring the knowledge of final year Speech and Language Therapy students.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Children with Down’s Syndrome have at least a mild, uncorrectable, visual deficit and a significantly higher risk of visual/ocular disorders than typically developing peers. This two-stage study used a mixed methods approach: Transcription analysis of an interview with an expert in Down's Syndrome (Stage 1), and quantitative analysis of questionnaire responses from final year Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) students (n=25). Stage 1 aimed to identify the impact of visual difficulties associated with Down’s Syndrome on client management. Findings identified a range of considerations for the SLT working with this client group and highlighted the limitations of conventional language assessments. Stage 2 investigated whether final year Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) students were able to identify and evaluate the implications of these considerations in language therapy in this client group. Findings suggest that SLT students possess a limited understanding of the range and severity of visual/ocular disorders associated with Down's Syndrome. Furthermore it was found that SLT students can glean very limited information from standard optometry reports. Possible directions for further research are discussed, and the potential benefits of SLT education, adapting assessment/therapy materials and interdisciplinary collaboration is discussed.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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