Do Manual Signs and Graphic Symbols/ Makaton Enhance the Communication Skills of Children with Downs Syndrome: A Systematic Review

Al-Ghamdi, Sohelah (2017) Do Manual Signs and Graphic Symbols/ Makaton Enhance the Communication Skills of Children with Downs Syndrome: A Systematic Review. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a type of early intervention services that aims to enhance or facilitate the communication abilities of children with special communication needs, such as Down syndrome (DS). Down syndrome children can use different types of AAC methods, depending on their learning and communication weaknesses and/or strengths. Furthermore, DS children have the ability to imitate movements and use gestures along with the strong visual memory abilities they exhibit in comparison with their verbal memory. Therefore, manual signs and graphic symbols separately or in combination such as Makaton can be considered relevant AAC types to Down syndrome children and are used to teach them language and communication skills.

In light of the above statement, this review aims to examine whether or not manual sings and graphic symbols as augmentative and alternative communication enhance the communication skills of children with Down syndrome. An electronic research and a bibliography search were conducted for 6 months in order to write a systematic literature review using specific key terminology. After filtering the relevant sources based on the inclusion/exclusion criteria, the results were 9 studies that focused on manual sings and graphic symbols/ Makaton as augmentative and alternative communication and on their impacts on the communication skills of Down syndrome children.

In addition, data collection and evaluation of each study helped conclude that there was a positive impact of manual sings and graphic symbols in conjunction with speech on Down syndrome children’s communication. The results of the review indicate that both the teaching method and the communicative partner influence the acquisition and use of manual sings and graphic symbols by children. Moreover, it seems that younger children with Down syndrome tend to use manual signs while older ones prefer to use other types of AAC including graphic symbols. The review results also suggest that the visual aspect of graphic symbols can support the learning of manual signs. However, more in-depth research is needed in order to investigate manual sings, graphic symbols/ Makaton and Down syndrome communication skills and abilities, and to examine the role of variables, such as comprehension levels, mental age and social settings, on Down syndrome children's speed of acquisition, use, maintenance and generalisability of these types of AAC. This review hopefully will benefit who are interested in Down syndrome the children

and Augmentative and Alternative Communication including children themselves, parents, teachers, specialists and even researchers.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Gigg, Diane
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2017 13:57
Last Modified: 08 May 2020 11:30

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