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The Down Syndrome LanguagePlus-project

The focus of the Down Syndrome LanguagePlus-project is to enhance the quality of vocabulary learning in children with Down syndrome.


About the project

Children with developmental disabilities are at risk of language impairment, and their language functioning in early school years tend to have a
marked influence on later development. Language difficulties have lifelong implications for success in education and working life as well as inclusion in
society. This project aims to develop and test a high-quality language intervention programme for children with Down syndrome, the most common
disorder associated with developmental disabilities.


  • The primary objective of the current study is to develop an effective language intervention for children with developmental disabilities: to increase their vocabulary breadth and depth with a view to improving language skills.
  • A secondary objective is to design a rigorous study to allow for theoretical development and methodological discussions within the field of language research involving children with intellectual disabilities.


A new language intervention programme for children with Down syndrome, called “DSL+,” will be developed. To test both the direct and transfer effects of the programme, a national age cohort of six-year olds with Down syndrome will be randomly allocated to either an experiment group or a control group. The programme focuses on both systematic training and natural dialogue with special education teachers, teachers and classmates, based on picture books and related visual materials. Importantly, the material will also be implemented as a text-free iPad app, making it easily transferable to a variety of settings, and adaptable to other languages. Prior to the intervention, distance learning methods will also be used to train teachers and special education teachers in this new evidence-based approach.


The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council’s programme Research and Innovation in the Educational Sector (FINNUT) for the period 2014 - 2017.


Buskerud and Vestfold University College

Norwegian Network for Down Syndrome (NNDS)

Telemark University College


The Norwegian Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (NFU)

University of Bristol

UiT - The Arctic University of Norway

Wenche Hoel Røine (author)




Published Aug. 20, 2014 7:20 AM - Last modified June 24, 2022 1:04 PM


Kari-Anne B. Næss

Department of Special Needs Education           

P.O. Box 1140 Blindern                               

N-0318 Oslo, Norway

Phone: + (47) 22 85 91 63