Down Syndrome – Three Tips for Educating Your Down Syndrome Child

One of the most daunting questions about having a child with Down syndrome is how to best educate them. A child with Down syndrome will have more specific educational needs than a typical child.Mental retardation is the general rule for kids with Down syndrome, so you will be entering a whole new world of special education. But don’t despair! There are many systems set up to make sure that your Down syndrome child receives the best education possible, tailored to his or her needs.Laws Guarantee Your Down Syndrome Child’s EducationThe first thing you should know about Down syndrome education is that every child in the U.S. is entitled to what is called a free and appropriate education. That means that your child will be educated in the public school system in a way that fits his or needs, and this is guaranteed by law.When your child enters school, testing will be done to see what kind of services your child needs. An IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, will be written to address your child’s unique needs. If the school is not able to provide for your child’s needs, there is a process by which you may be able to get the school to pay for a special school that can.There are many different therapies and accommodations that the school can provide for your Down syndrome child. The specifics, in terms of which services are appropriate for your child, will be decided at your first IEP meeting.An IEP does the following:Identifies your child’s disability, and lays out how it affects their ability to be educated.
Lists goals that the child should be able to accomplish during the school year – both academic and functional, such as life skills goals.
Provides a mechanism for how these goals will be measured and assessed.
Specifies the specific aids and services that will be needed to meet these goals – for instance, tape recorders, sensory aids, note takers, aides, a modified curriculum and so on.A helpful website to learn more about IEP meetings is http://www.wrightslaw.com. IEP meetings are usually conducted once a year so adjustments can be made to your child’s services as he or she changes, if needed.Three Things to Look for in Your Child’s SchoolMost kids with Down syndrome are educated in public schools and receive special services. If you have a choice between public schools, or want to choose a private school instead, here are some things to think about.1. Will your child be educated in an inclusive environment or a self-contained classroom?A lot of schools these days educate Down syndrome kids in the same classes as other kids, pulling them out for specialty services like speech and occupational therapy. They have an aide to help them navigate the mainstream environment. This helps them learn better how to interact with their typical peers, and their peers how to better interact with people who have disabilities. Some still use self-contained classrooms, where people with disabilities are grouped together. Some use a mixture of both.Look into what transition support services the school offers for making the move from high school to beyond high school. This will become important later on.2. Supports Your Child May Need in SchoolThere are several different areas that your Down syndrome child may need support in once he or she enters school, and you will want to be aware of all of these.Academic support is an obvious one, but you will also want to make sure your child has support out on the playground.
He will need help interacting and feeling integrated with his classmates, and you will want someone there to make sure that no bullying is going on.
Some kids with Down syndrome will still need help in the bathroom, using the toilet, at least at the very beginning of their school years.Other areas of support can be added once you observe how your child is doing in school.3. Another Option – Private Schools for Down Syndrome ChildrenIf you feel your child cannot cope or thrive in a regular educational setting, there are private special education schools just for kids with Down syndrome. There are not a whole lot of them, and it is not the most common way to do things, but they do exist. (There are a lot of special education schools that accept kids with all sorts of disabilities, but fewer dedicated to only Down syndrome.) One example of a school dedicated to the education of Down syndrome kids is Pathfinder Village in Edmeston, New York.Education for Down syndrome kids can seem confusing and overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. There are many resources available to guide you: books, websites, teachers, and other parents who have been there. This is where a support group with other Down syndrome parents will come in handy to share experiences with what works. With a little legwork, you will be well on your way to ensuring a wonderful educational experience for your Down syndrome child.

6 Parenting Tips – How To Successfully Overcome Special Education Deceptions

Are you a parent of a special needs child who has been told things
that are not true about your child’s education, by disability
educators? Are you a parent who is afraid to stand up to the
deceptions? Would you like to learn six disability advocacy tips, for
standing up to some educators who are not truthful? This article will
teach you easy to use parenting tips to help you in your fight for
your child’s educational life. These tips along with knowledge ofthe
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will help you in
your disability advocacy journey.I will give an example of a common lie that is heard by many parents,
and follow up with six tips.Lie: “I am sorry, we cannot give your child speech therapy, because
the category your child receives special education under is a learning
disability.” (Be sure that your child is tested in all areas of
suspected disability! Some school personnel deny services without even
testing the child, to see if the child needs services in a specific
area such as speech).Tip 1: Ask for, in writing, a copy of the state or federal law that
the school person is using to deny needed special education services.
(IDEA does not allow school districts to base services on labels, only
educational needs). For example: “Could you please show me, in
writing, the state or federal law that states that you have the right
to deny my child an educational service that they need.”Tip 2: If the disability educator made this statement in a verbal
conversation, as soon as possible after the conversation, write the
educator and quote what they said. Also, keep a copy. It may be
necessary to write the special education person a couple of times, to
get a response.Tip 3: Use the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to
strengthen your position. For Example: “IDEA states that the purpose
of the law is to ensure that all children with disabilities have
available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes
special education and RELATED SERVICES designed to meet their UNIQUE
NEEDS . . .Section 1400 Purposes.”Tip 4: Tell the disability educator, in writing, that since they are
not able to show you a state or federal law that states that your
child’s label determines service (it doesn’t), that you stand by your
position that your child needs speech therapy. Remember to be
assertively persistent! Also, use testing to prove that your child is
below age and grade equivalents to justify related services.Tip 5: Consider getting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE),
for your child with a qualified person. In the above example, you
could take your child to a qualified Speech and Language Pathologist,
and have the child tested. Make sure they are willing to write a
detailed report to include recommendations.Tip 6: Send the independent evaluation report to school personnel, and
ask for an IEP meeting to discuss the evaluator’srecommendations. If
possible, have the evaluator participate by telephone.This article has given you six parenting tips that you can use to
successfully overcome disability educator’s deceptions. You have the
right to hold special educational personnel accountable for giving
false information. Good luck in your advocacy journey!