The development of children with down's syndrome who are mainstreamed in the Christchurch area: A study of six children observed in 1984/5 (6-7 years) and in 1988
Four girls and two boys with Down's Syndrome (D.S.) were observed a year after starting school and some 3-4 years later in their regular classrooms. Data was collected on their classroom functioning, social interaction at lunchtime and their academic development. Results indicate that the children's interactions with peers had developed in both range and complexity since the earlier study. Interactions initiated to peers and from peers were greater in number than in the previous stduy and interactions with the teacher were less frequent. The children were either as attentive or more attentive compared with the previous study and levels of social interaction had also increased. Progress in reading was also evident, although in some cases, development was less than expected, due to insufficient practical and professional resources available. The results fail to support the commonly held belief that as children with D.S. reach middle childhood, their development plateaus or declines. These results also contradict the presumption that mainstreaming is only appropriate for younger children and that as the gap between the child with D.S. and his/her peers widens, the child would be better off with other children of similar ability. Even though the children's development was at a slower rate than their same-age peers, they all continued to make gains in almost all areas observed and to have benefitted from the normalised experiences and setting.