The inclusion of young children with Down syndrome in research about their early intervention services is extremely important. The importance of refining interventions to suit the child and their family’s individual needs, likes, interests is acknowledged to benefit all involved.
An exploratory qualitative design was used to explore the phenomenon. Clark and Moss’s (2001; 2011) Mosaic approach, which adopts an interpretivist approach for listening to children’s perspectives, was used.
The multi-method data collection process involved: use of a SenseCam and talking mats, informal observations and multiple interactions. This multi-method process facilitated the views of three children aged between three and four years with Down syndrome to become embedded in the research process. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.
Analysis revealed four main themes. 1. Describing Child included the child’s personality, their development and their concentration, 2. Communication included how the child communicates (greeting, commenting, responding, requesting, understanding and why and their communication environments, 3. Services included needs and context and interactions in terms of how they interact with services and with whom and where, 4. Activities included the child’s communication environment, their likes, interests and their choices.
Knowledge of a child’s world can add their perspective as a partner in EI intervention and has implications for the inclusion of children with disabilities as partners on their early intervention journey. Acknowledging their perspective will create new priorities for everyone involved in their intervention to allow the intervention to be both functional and inclusive. Participatory data collection methods can support the participation and engagement of preschool children with DS within research.