Homework

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Difficulties with language and short-term memory can make remembering what is expected for homework particularly difficult for pupils with Down syndrome, so communication over homework is particularly important. It can also take a pupil with Down syndrome longer to complete homework than their peers so it is important that all homework is suitably differentiated in terms of content and time.

Strategies for assigning homework:

    • Homework to be differentiated – set the child with Down syndrome a short piece of homework which is focused on practice or repetition of a topic, skill or concept already covered in class and clearly understood by the pupil. It should be an activity that the pupil will be able to complete independently, or with the minimum of support.
    • Make sure all homework is written down in full in the student’s homework journal or diary
    • Add any extra short and concise additional explanation that you think the pupil might need, linking the task in to the lesson where it was originally covered.
    • Ensure date for completion is written down clearly for parents and pupil to see.
    • Add symbols, diagrams or highlight key words – these will act as strong visual reminders,
    • If there is no room to do this in the pupil’s journal, a homework explanation copy or notebook can be a useful accessory for recording this type of additional material.
    • Include all relevant information rather than take it for granted that the pupil will know what to do: mention which copy to write in, where to find necessary information.
    • Praise the pupil for making a good effort with their homework.
    • If student motivation to complete homework is poor, the first step is to check that the homework is set at the right level for the student and is not overly time consuming. If you are satisfied that the homework is appropriately pitched, you could consider a sticker chart or stamp book where the student can earn a reward or privilege for completing all their homework each week.

Tips for modifying worksheets:

    • Have fewer questions or items on the page
    • Use a larger, bolder font (Arial and Verdana are both easy to read)
    • Have less clutter on page —
    • Simplify the vocabulary used —
    • Add visuals (clipart, photos, signs, symbols)
    • Adjust the format of worksheet to reduce the writing demands, if necessary – you could try cut and paste, matching boxes, or fill in the blanks

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