Study findings challenge view that children with Down syndrome lack motivation.


This study looked at 33 children with Down syndrome aged between 10–15 years along with a group of 33 typically developing 3–8 year-old children.

The study authors measured motivation through observational assessments of curiosity, preference for challenge, and persistence, and also took reports from the children’s mothers.

They found no significant group differences on motivation tasks. Mothers of the children with Down syndrome however rated their children significantly lower on motivation than parents of the typically developing children.

The authors suggest that their findings challenge views that individuals with learning disabilities are deficient in motivation.

Observational Assessment and Maternal Reports of Motivation in Children and Adolescents With Down Syndrome, Gilmore L & Cuskelly M, in Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 116, 2, 153-164.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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