Special Needs Child Study

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Introduction
The objective of the care of the special child assignment is to study a child with special needs in their typical everyday environment. I will study the child in the pre-school/ Montessori room. I will watch him working with the Special Needs Assistance* (SNA) and his interaction with the other children in the room.

In this assignment I particular looked at:

• The child’s use of space, environment and language.

• To observe the child’s motor movements, both fine and gross motor movement.

• To watch the child’s interaction with the other peers in the room. Also how he interacts with the SNA and the childcare worker.

• To see if the child’s needs and abilities were made.

The Participant

TC * is four and a half years old. He is the youngest of three children. He lives at home with his parents and three siblings. Both his mother and father work full time. They own their own business. His parents are often away on business meetings and are often out of the country. They have a nanny living with them 24/7. She has a special needs course complete and also works in the crèche when TC is there.

TC sometimes goes to the Montessori up stairs. The SNA informed me that he finds the materials and activities much harder. He dislikes a lot of the Montessori materials. He is used to the activities in the pre-school room.

TC’s mother has great expectations for TC. She is very interested in what he does each day at the crèche. She often gives in activities to the SNA that she can’t get TC to do at home. He does it with the SNA. She hopes that TC will attend the local primary school in September. She would like TC’s SNA to continue on with him through primary.

*TC is what I’ am calling the participant.

Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is not a disease. It is a result of a chromosomal disorder. There are about 5,000 people in Ireland with Down syndrome. It is the most common cause of learning disability, it is estimated that about one baby born in every 600 has Down syndrome.

Chromosomes are minute particles within the cell of our bodies. They are building blocks which give us our individual characteristics. They determine the colour of our hair, eyes etc.

Chromosomes are usually group together in 23 pair; 46 chromosomes in total. Half of these come from the mother and the other half come from the father. Most babies with Down syndrome have an extras number 21 chromosome making 47 chromosomes in total.

There are three different types of Down syndrome:

Simple Trisomy

Most of Down syndrome cases fall into this group. Usually a child has 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs but a child with trisomy has an extra chromosome making it 47. The parents usually have the normal number of chromosomes, but the baby has three chromosomes. This can be due to the division of the egg or sperm.

2. Translocation.

This is a rare condition. Translocation is observed in 4% of the babies with Down syndrome. Translocation simply means move to another location. The baby has a normal number of chromosomes but the baby has extra chromosomes attached to the normal chromosome.

The parents have normal chromosomes but they can carry a translocation chromosome without ever showing symptoms. A normal child receives only one chromosome of pair 21 off each parent. But a parent with a translocation can pass on his or her normal chromosome plus the translocation chromosome.

3. Mosaic

Like translocation Down syndrome, mosaic Down syndrome is also very rare. About 1% of the babies carry this condition. They have a mixture of cells; some have 47 chromosomes due to the extra number 21 chromosome. Being a mixture of normal and mosaic chromosomes, these babies show only partial facial features form this condition.

Risk of Down Syndrome

Women aged between 35 and...
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