A prelimenary exploration of the rural-urban differential in language and speech development among children with Down's Syndrom
Speech and language are key issues for all human beings because it is through them that people share feelings, ideas and emotions. The Down's Syndrome children have been defined as those who have deficits in physical features and are mentally retarded. Their mental incapability bring about delays in speech and language development. The social development theory by Vigotsky informed this study. The theory states that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. Since language is a cognitive aspect, it can therefore develop effectively as children interact with the society. Down Syndrome children in rural settings were found to develop speech and language much slower than their counterparts in urban settings. This was because they were denied interaction with others especially in school due to the stigma attached to mental handicapping conditions in the society they lived. This was found to deprive them of important social, economic, political and cultural benefits since speech and language are key to socialization and education. I argue that interventions concerning the speech and language development of Down Syndrome children need to be applied uniformly in both rural and urban settings, to enable all Down Syndrome children be prepared to become active participants in nation building later in life when they become adults.
Key words: Downs syndrome, education, children, Kenya