Project ELSTRAD is an international collaboration between the Institute of Education (IOE), London, UK , Sheffield University, UK, l’Université SHS Lille 3, France and l’Université de Rouen, France. Project ELSTRAD is funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK and l’Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), France.

The aim of this research project is to determine the strategies that people use to navigate around new environments. We are interested in navigation and route learning in both typically developing children and in people with learning difficulties, specifically Down syndrome and Williams syndrome.

People with learning difficulties can find it difficult to orientate themselves, even within a familiar environment (e.g. their town, school, or local supermarket) , and can struggle to work out the route from A to B. Given that the ability to learn your way around independently is an essential skill for successful integration into society, it is important that we, as Psychologists, address the difficulties experienced by these individuals.

With this in mind, we plan to compare the development of navigation abilities across three groups: typically developing children and in two groups of people with learning difficulties, Down syndrome and Williams syndrome. This comparison will enable us to best understand the specific difficulties encountered by each of these groups. Additionally, the results of our initial studies will help us to determine the kinds of remediation that are best suited to each group.