Parent Reports of Wayfinding by Their Children with Down Syndrome

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Background: Navigating the environment, or wayfinding, is integral to independent living. Laboratory studies have consistently indicated an impairment in wayfinding in people with Down syndrome (DS). However, very little is known regarding their real-life wayfinding abilities. Method: Eighty-six parents of children with DS completed an online survey on their children’s wayfinding behaviours and their own feelings and expectations about their children’s wayfinding. Results: Parents reported their children had few wayfinding skills, yet much confidence in their own abilities. Many parents had taught/planned to teach their children wayfinding skills. Parents also expressed concerns over their children’s independent wayfinding. Parents teaching wayfinding and parents’ concern predicted their assessment of their children’s wayfinding competence and knowledge. Children’s age and sex, as well as parents’ concerns predicted assessment of children’s confidence in wayfinding. Conclusions: Our results identified key factors related to wayfinding behaviours in people with DS. Parental factors are especially important in predicting their children’s wayfinding behaviour.



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