Later she emailed this to me:
By Googling, I found this: http://www.down-syndrome.org/perspectives/9/?em_x=22I thought I would send you a link to the article and further information about the reading and langauge programme that was trialled with children with Down syndrome:
It evaluated a treatment approach that used a combination of reading and language activities, with components of synthetic phonics and whole word reading being combined within the reading strand.
There have been more threads about this in the past, which can be found by using the search button on this message forum.We encourage early success and confidence in this "look and say" whole word way and then move on to give the children a more sophisticated understanding of the reading process by pointing out the letter-sound correspondences in the words that they can already read correctly. Knowledge of letter sounds enables a child to work out an unfamiliar printed word by themselves. We draw their attention to the initial or onset sounds by finding two words in their sight vocabulary with the same initial or onset sounds. Recent work has suggested that children break the words into onset and rime such as str and ing for string, str being the onset and ing the rime (Goswami & Bryant, 1990). In 1982 we observed that our early readers were breaking the words up in this way for themselves as their experience with reading words grew.