Author: Lau, Wai-yin
Title: Symmetrical learning behavior in Cantonese-speaking children with Down syndrome, and with other mental retardation : a comparative study
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 1999
Subject: Children -- Language acquisition
Chinese language -- Acquisition
Visual perception in children
Children with mental disabilities -- Language
Down syndrome
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Nursing and Health Sciences
Pages: xii, 155 leaves ; 31 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Visual perception is an important ability in learning Chinese characters. There is no rule telling the relationship between sound, shape and meaning of each Chinese characters, learning Chinese characters may be a difficult task to some children, especially for children with limited intellectual abilities. Past research suggested that symmetry provokes perceptual advantage, and facilitates performance in cognitive tasks. And it is observed that many Chinese characters are symmetrically structured. Purpose of the present study is to examine whether symmetry facilitates visual perception and thus help children in learning Chinese characters. Performance in children with different intellectual functioning may give an understanding of the cognitive development of children. There are three groups of children participated in the present study. They are children with average intelligence, with mental retardation, and with Down syndrome. Cognitive tasks, matching and memory tests, are used to examine performance with different types of stimuli in the three groups of children. Stimuli include symmetries, asymmetries, words, and non-word. Results suggest that symmetry did facilitate performance in children with average intelligence and children with mental retardation. Although children with Down syndrome is more affected by previous experience with stimuli instead of symmetry, their performance is not significantly different form children with average intelligence. Results validate Western research about symmetry with stimuli from real life, whereas the previous research was conducted with stimuli designed for experimental purpose. Performance of children with Down syndrome also supported to extend the "developmental position" to children with mental retardation associated with clear etiology. The "development position" in cognitive development of children with mental retardation stated that cognitive development of children with mental retardation develop along the same path as normally developed children. Results showed that performance with children with Down syndrome is not significantly different from children with average intelligence further support extension of the "development position" to children with mental retardation associated with clear etiology.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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