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Help for parents of children with special needs

author:University of Canterbury

Help for parents of children with special needs

25 June 2012

A new DVD showing how children with developmental disorders can be helped by simply sharing books has been launched.

Turn the page with me is a resource developed by the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association in conjunction with the Champion Centre and features University of Canterbury senior lecturer and speech therapist Dr Anne van Bysterveldt and Champion Centre clinical manager and senior speech and language therapist Jan Murphy.

The resource aims to boost spoken language development and develop literacy skills. It includes footage of different shared book reading scenarios with an infant, toddler and pre-schooler with Down syndrome, modelled by parents at the Champion Centre and coached by Dr van Bysterveldt.

Turn the page with me also features the inspiring story of Andrew Oswin who, despite having Down syndrome, is now a passionate reader

?In a world where therapy services for children with disabilities are seriously underfunded, we need to find innovative ways to provide parents with information and guidance so they can help their child develop their full potential,? says Champion Centre Director and University of Canterbury senior fellow, Dr Susan Foster-Cohen.

?Parents know their child best, but when that child has a significant disability, they need help to know how to use that knowledge to support their child?s development,? says Ms Murphy

?The infants and children featured in this DVD, produced by Borderless Productions Ltd, all have Down syndrome, but the ideas and techniques modelled and described are appropriate for any child with developmental challenges or, in fact, any child,? says Dr van Bysterveldt.

?While learning to read was a challenge for Andrew Oswin and his parents, he is now able to share his expertise with others and is an example of how sharing books can make a real difference in people?s lives.?

?How we share books with infants and children can make a huge difference to whether they are engaged with the pictures, words and ideas, and whether they develop their language and literacy skills,? says Ms Murphy.

The DVD will be made available throughout the country via the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association and will be officially launched at 3pm on Thursday 28 June at the Champion Centre, Burwood Hospital.

For more information please contact:
Dr Susan Foster-Cohen
Senior Fellow in Linguistics and Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury and Director of the Champion Centre
(03) 383 6867 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (03) 383 6867 end_of_the_skype_highlighting 2012