Coping with learning disabilities
For children diagnosed with Chung-Jansen Syndrome, the process of learning is more difficult and less straightforward compared to ‘neurotypical’ children, due to problems with attention and stimulus processing. The main focus sometimes has to be on ‘learning to learn.’
For these children, it is very beneficial to repeat instructions several times and to divide larger tasks into several smaller subtasks in order to maintain an overview of the situation. This will help the child to comprehend the expected outcome. Generally speaking, children with the Chung-Jansen syndrome have strong verbal capabilities, but performace of tasks can be difficult. Hence, assuming the child understands an instruction when he/she actually does not, is a known pitfall.
In case of early diagnosis, the method of step-by-step learning can be applied at very early age. Ambulatory support specialists can educate and assist parents to help the child by using development-oriented materials.
The importance of early diagnosis is also related to the choice of education. Despite the fact that some children diagnosed with Chung-Jansen attend regular forms of education (often with extra support), many others benefit from ‘special education’ as it is more appropriate in regards to physical and/or learning disabilities associated with the syndrome.
Typically, even before a child attends nursery school, several alternatives exist. One is special toddler groups affiliated with rehabilitation centers. In these toddler groups, a wide range of therapy is offered in a number of developmental areas. Sometimes it is called a therapeutic toddler group.
Alternatively, a child can be referred to a medical daycare center where the development of the child can be mapped and stimulated to ultimately determine what type of education will be most appropriate. Children can usually stay in this environment until the age of seven. (this alternative does not exist in some countries).
Education (based on the educational system of the Netherlands)
Age 4- 12
Alternative to regular primary education, one can opt for special education in which therapy (occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy) is offered during school hours or for a school type that focuses specifically on behavioral and developmental disorders.
Generally speaking, ‘Cluster 3’ education is the best fit for children with single or multiple mental or physical disabilities. The so-called ‘Cluster 4’ education is intended for children with Autism and/or behavioral problems, but mainly intended for children with low average to average intelligence. Sometimes children with PHIP do not achieve this intelligence level. There is also an intermediate form between special and primary education: Special primary education. This education is aimed at children with learning disabilities and optional behavioral problems.
Successive education to ‘Cluster 3’ or ‘Cluster 4’ can be either regular education or special education. Practical education is often the follow-up to ‘Cluster 3’ education, in which children are prepared for society as well as possible. Upon completion, students are able to enroll in “post-secondary vocational education.”