Cognitive intervention in folks with Down syndrome


From the Aura Foundation

In September 2017, the Aura Foundation began implementing and customizing the NeuronUP program for people with Down syndrom and other intellectual disabilities. One of the main reasons we chose this program is the type of activities on offer. The NeuronUP exercises are based on the principles of “Generalization and / or Transfer”. These principles fit the philosophy methodology of work that Aura has always followed, the methodology of mediated learning. We were able to show that it is of great benefit on both a cognitive and functional level, as it is easy to use in everyday life. It also favors the increase in motivation and commitment of the person and improves personal autonomy and self-esteem. As well as maintaining the psychosocial skills necessary for the activities of daily living and social of these people.

Working with computers and tablets is more stimulating and motivating

We focus on the area of ​​cognitive training and work on the various skills. We ensure that we do the previous program introduction and preparation work, which consists of “learning to learn”. This includes defining each of the cognitive functions and the various processes.

For example, explain what attention means and describe the sub-types (sustained attention, selective attention, alternating attention) by looking for practical examples from everyday life in different contexts of life (family, work, leisure, etc.).

Cognitive intervention in people with Down syndrome

First phase of the intervention

In the first phase of cognitive intervention in people with Down syndrome, we started with a small group of participants using NeuronUP as a cognitive stimulation program. We reviewed all of the program’s activities (both digital and printable) one by one. Then we designed a program with different levels of difficulty.

One of the most positive things about working with NeuronUP is that the activities are for adults very practical and functional content. They also have an attractive presentation based on photographs.

Out of all of the cognitive functions that NeuronUP activities perform, we have selected those that we believe will be most beneficial for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, and planned the sessions to gradually go from less to more Difficulties are worked on in order to adapt them to the needs of the participants.

Some of the specific changes we’ve made are:

  • Extend the time for reasoning activities.
  • Increase the time spent on storage activities.
  • Increase reading time for activities.
  • Reduce the time spent on activities with sustained alertness.
  • Reduce the time spent on repetitive activities.
  • Increase the time spent on simulator or game activities.
  • Eliminate activities that require complex thinking (e.g., copying mirror models, subtracting, etc.).

One of the aspects that was very useful is the ability to listen to the instruction while reading. Likewise, Something that is very beneficial is the ability to briefly practice the activity to make sure it was pproperly understood and assimilated.

Second intervention phase

In a second phase of cognitive intervention in people with Down syndrome, we developed a new program with the same complexity as the previous ones, but with new activities. These programs included the changes we had already considered with the Aim to adapt them to the profile and needs of our participants, Adding new activities as well as simulators with the aim of preferring certain aspects related to the activities of daily living.

At the same time, we were able to infer the following from the observations made: aAfter six months of practicing with NeuronUP, participants show a higher degree of autonomy and initiative as well as a greater ability to carry out the activities and use the computer and NeuronUP page to initiate and manage their own session, etc.

Likewise if Transferring to activities of daily living using the mediated learning methodology, have also improved the ability to identify the cognitive functions that are being worked on by relating them to activities and / or tasks they perform in their daily life.

Thanks to all of these changes, we were able to do so Increase cognitive stimulation session adherence, motivation, and number of participants.

Third intervention phase

Currently already in a third phase of cognitive intervention in people with Down syndrome, We have developed a new program to which we have added new activities and which can be worked on using 5 different levels of difficulty. These levels respond to different needs and skills that we have observed in our participants as the profiles between them are very different:

  • Level 1: high level, for participants who have a good understanding and a good cognitive level. You work completely autonomously.
  • Level 2: medium to high level for participants who read and write well, but are slower and / or need occasional support.
  • Level 3: medium level, for people who read and write, but with medium to low understanding.
  • Level 4: Medium-Low Level, for those participants who have difficulty reading but have visual support, can solve simple reading activities.
  • Level 5: Low level, with only visual activities designed for anyone who has not acquired reading and writing skills and needs assistance.

The methodology we use allows us to work on the different skills by planning them with their sspecific goals, their order and analysis of the strategies used, which favor the discussion of ideas and the generalization of what has been learnedas well as the evaluation of the progress made at regular intervals.

The participants value this program very positively, as the activities are motivating and in many cases a challenge to master.

More and more people have asked to work with NeuronUP and this gives us great satisfaction as we believe it has an impact on improving cognitive performance and has a positive effect on skill acquisition and personal autonomy, in short said facilitates the introduction of labor and a better quality of life.

Cognitive intervention with NeuronUP in people with mild disabilities

Likewise, we apply it in a personalized way as a non-pharmacological therapeutic intervention on a small group of people who are already in the follow-up phase and are participating in the Aura Vital program. Some of these people have started a process of mild deterioration; others have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the first phase.

We are convinced that the NeuronUP program makes it possible to promote the preserved functions and stop the development of cognitive deteriorationas it is based on the basic principles of cognitive intervention, namely neuroplasticity and psychostimulation.

In summary, we at Aura Fundación rely on the NeuronUP program as a useful tool with which we can adapt the intervention to the capacities and needs of the participants and promote maintenance and / or cognitive improvement.

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Cognitive intervention in people with Down syndrome

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Cognitive intervention in people with Down syndrome


Aura Fundación explains how they use NeuronUP to perform cognitive interventions in people with Down syndrome.


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