What are DSE’s new advice and progress tracking systems?

We recently announced a project that is underway to develop systems that can provide intelligent, data-driven and highly personalised support to families and professionals, and can help to scale up and accelerate future scientific research.

These systems collect observations about a child’s development – from forms a parent or professional completes, and from teaching activities running in apps. Based on these observations, we can then provide detailed advice for that child, based on her or his current stage of development and rates of progress.

We believe these systems will allow us to offer advice and guidance to families and professionals that is more timely, more relevant and better targeted at the individual needs of each child than has previously been possible.

At the same time, these systems will allow us to collect larger data sets than researchers have previously been able to collect, and to collect data sets that follow children over longer periods of time than has been possible in the past.

We believe this will both improve and accelerate scientific research. In turn, this will further improve future advice and guidance - and outcomes for young people with Down syndrome.

What will be available for families and when?

The See and Learn Progress Tracker

The first service, built on these new technologies, will be the See and Learn Progress Tracker.

This will help families to monitor their child’s progress across a range of early communication milestones from birth, to track progress with speech sound production and discrimination, and to track vocabulary and early grammar learning.

As families, record their observations, the See and Learn Progress Tracker will provide guidance and advice on strategies and activities that can help promote the development of foundational speech and language skills from the first months of life through to around 5 or 6 years of age.

The See and Learn Progress Tracker will be freely available via the See and Learn web site. We expect to launch it in the next couple of months.

My Child’s Progress app

The See and Learn Progress Tracker is just the beginning of what we have planned. Our goal is to offer comprehensive advice and progress tracking service across all developmental areas and ages.

Our current plan (which might evolve as we get feedback from users of the See and Learn Progress Tracker) is to launch a My Child’s Progress service that will be accessible via apps for Android phones and tablets; Apple iPhones, iPads and macOS laptops and desktops; and Windows laptops and desktops.

We hope (tentatively) that we will launch a first version of My Child’s Progress towards the end of 2024.

Updated See and Learn resources

My Child’s Progress will be our main hub for progress tracking and advice for families. We will also incorporate new advice and progress tracking features into our existing resources, starting with our See and Learn apps and kits.

Clients preferring printed teaching materials to app-based teaching activities will be able to access record-keeping, progress tracking and personalised guidance via an app.

Again, we hope that we will launch updated See and Learn apps and kits towards the end of 2024.

Does this mean current See and Learn resources will become outdated?

No – anyone with existing See and Learn teaching materials or apps will be able to easily use the new record-keeping, progress tracking and personalised guidance in the future.

Updated RLI handbook online

Similarly, we will also incorporate new advice and progress tracking features into the Reading and Language Intervention (RLI) online handbook. This will enable teachers to keep each students records online and will offer personalised guidance on planning teaching activities.

My Students Progress and My Clients Progress

We are also planning apps for teachers (My Students Progress) and for therapists and other support professionals (My Clients Progress). These will allow families and professionals to share observations, teaching goals and strategies.

How will advice and guidance be provided by these new systems?

These systems will provide advice and guidance based on the information provided about each individual child. The specifications for the advice provided are developed by leading researchers and practitioners, based on the best available evidence.

By personalising advice using this data-driven approach, we can offer families guidance that is simpler, more direct and better tailored to meet their child’s developmental needs.

As new research findings that might impact the advice are reported, the advice specifications can be easily updated. We believe that this will improve the quality of advice we can offer and help to bring research into practice more quickly. In addition, the data collected by our systems should also inform better advice in the future.

How will these new systems help future research?

If we can deliver advice and progress tracking that families and professionals find helpful and choose to use on a regular basis, then we will begin to collect data on many children with observations at many time points. This would offer much more information about many more children than it has been feasible for research studies to collect in the past.

We plan to make anonymised data sets widely available to the research community and we believe this will improve and accelerate scientific research.

Where can I find out more?

We will post further information and updates about our new advice and progress tracking systems to this DSE Community category. (If you have registered and signed in, you can choose to ‘watch’ the category to be notified of updates.)

The slides and notes from the presentation given at the Down Syndrome Research Forum in April 2024 are available here.

Announcements will also be made via our mailing list, which you can sign up for here.

This looks very exciting. As a parent of a teenager I’d love to see it extended to include teen age people with LD around their use of speech and language.

Hi Jo -

Welcome to our new community site and thank you for posting!

We definitely have the ambition to develop these systems to better support young people of all ages.

We are starting with the early years as it is where we already have most data and detailed teaching advice (from our See and Learn resources).

However, they can be extended to cover any age group and any area of development.

To some extent, personalised advice becomes more challenging as children with Down syndrome get older as the range of skills achieved varies more widely.

This is somewhat mitigated by advice being based on developmental criteria rather than age. However, we cannot entirely ignore age – you would likely select different target vocabulary for a 13-year-old than a 4-year-old with similar sized vocabularies.

We also have less data on rates of progress for teenagers to get started with, so we will likely have to evolve the advice more as we begin to collect data for this age group.

Once we get the See and Learn Progress Tracker launched and start to gather feedback we will be quickly moving forward with the broader record-keeping and advice systems.

The main constraint is, of course, time. We are a small team and can only do so much at once. We cannot (and should not) do it all and are hoping to partner with others to work with us on evolving these systems.