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Title: A study of communication support for children with Down's syndrome and English as an additional language
Author: Kyffin, Felicity
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 2379
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2018
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Young children with Down’s syndrome (DS) and English as an additional language (EAL) require a high level of communication support, but there is no guidance for practitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) about how to meet these needs. This thesis explores early years’ practice in mainstream and specialist provision through case studies of two city boroughs with different demographics. The crosscutting themes of experience, training, multi-agency working and policy were identified in the literature and found to be inter-linked in how they influenced the teaching strategies reported in the study. All practitioners working with children with DS and EAL were found to be using a wide range of teaching strategies. These matched the statutory guidance for the EYFS curriculum, suggestions given in early years’ texts and practitioner guidance, and available research evidence relating to the communication of children with DS, with EAL, and with other special educational needs (SEN), although participants did not recognise this. Teachers’ practice was also influenced by the SEN Code of Practice which was current at that time. A vital role was played by the speech and language therapy service in providing training and evidence-based interventions; however, support from this service was reported to be decreasing within mainstream settings. The exchange of information about children’s communication between agencies and settings at times of transition was poor, and SEN coordinators had a challenging role in managing services around the child. The availability of support for children’s home languages differed greatly between the boroughs, with better provision for children in settings where there were high numbers of children with EAL. Children with DS who were international new arrivals are identified in the study as being particularly vulnerable, with delayed access to services and agencies. The need for equity in the communication support available for children with DS and EAL is an important feature of this study’s findings. Addressing this issue has implications for teacher training, joined-up working for EYFS settings and services, the role played by the speech and language therapy service, and the availability of home language support and assessment.
Supervisor: Ware, Jean Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available