A prelimenary exploration of the rural-urban differential in language and speech development among children with Down's Syndrom

  • Catherine Waithera Ndung'u Educational Assessment & Resources Centre

Abstract

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

Author Biography

Catherine Waithera Ndung'u, Educational Assessment & Resources Centre

Waithera  is a D.Phil student  at  Moi  University taking  Language Education ( English).  Currently, she is coordinating Special Education services, popularly known  as Educational Assessment & Resources  Centre ( EARC) in Gatundu District. She  is interested in issues  of Special Needs Education (SNE).She  is undertaking  a  research  on the challenges  of  teaching  and  learning  of  English language among  the  Hearing Impaired.

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eISSN: 1998-1279