Speech Development and Intervention Techniques in Children with Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy: A Case of Maria Magdalena School, Thika.
Amateshe, S. Margaret
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This study sought to investigate speech development and intervention techniques in children with Down syndrome (DS) and Cerebral palsy (CP). This was carried out in Maria Magdalena Special School for Children with Mental Handicap. The study aimed at establishing the speech ability of these children at the time of the study, the varying chronological ages (CA) at which they developed speech and the intervention techniques employed to promote speech development. ~his was done by observing, analysing and interpreting the sounds, words, and sentences children with DS and CP produced. The study was prompted by readings on handicapping conditions that afflict children with DS and CP among them the inability to produce speech commensurate with their chronological age. This could only be answered by studying the nature of speech and the intervention techniques used to address the situation. Chapter two provides a review of studies in: ormal speech development in children, studies on mental and physical handicap, speech development in children with DS, speech development in children with CP, literature on speech intervention techniques and the Kiswahili morphology and syllable structure. The study used an eclectic theoretical approach with emphasis on some tenets of Cognitive Development Theory (1979), Motor Theory (1982) and the Systemic Theory (1985). The !Ievelopment of a research design in chapter three follows and paves way for the analysis and presentation of the data. A descriptive case study was conducted on children with DS and CP and their speech observed and recorded through participant observation. The teachers were also interviewed on the intervention speech techniques they use. A qualitative research design guided by three theoretical approaches was used to analyse the data. The following findings emerged: the DS and CP conditions lead to speech problems, the speech later develops due to among other things, maturity and the communication needs that emerge and that a variety of complementary intervention techniques to help correct the situation are in application in the school curriculum. Recommendations made by this study include: the need for children with DS and CP to be supported to make useful speech to communicate their basic needs, teachers to adopt relevant intervention techniques for each child's age group and class level, besides bringing into playa variety of these techniques in order to achieve maximum results in speech development.