Research Article  |   March 2014
School Function in Students With Down Syndrome
Author Affiliations
  • Lisa A. Daunhauer, ScD, MS, OTR, is Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
  • Deborah J. Fidler, PhD, is Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University–Fort Collins, 410 Pitkin Street, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1570; Deborah.Fidler@colostate.edu
  • Elizabeth Will, MEd, BCBA, is Doctoral Student, Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Article Information
Intellectual Disabilities / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / School-Based Practice / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   March 2014
School Function in Students With Down Syndrome
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, 167-176. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009274
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, 167-176. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009274
Abstract

People with Down syndrome (DS) are predisposed to specific areas of relative developmental strength and challenge, but it is unclear whether and how this profile affects participation in school and community settings. In this study we characterized the nature of school participation and performance of functional tasks in the school context for 26 elementary students with DS (mean age = 7.86 yr; standard deviation = 1.75). Students participated in assessments of cognitive status and language development. Their teachers completed the School Function Assessment (Coster, Deeney, Haltiwanger, & Haley, 1998) questionnaire and a standardized questionnaire on executive functioning (EF). Students demonstrated a pronounced pattern of assistance- and adaptation-related needs across various domains of school function. The strongest predictor of school function was EF skills, as reported by teachers (adjusted R2 = .47, p = .003). Findings from this study should inform future intervention and school-related planning for elementary school students with DS.