Education develops the foundation necessary for an individual to reach their potential. This is especially true for individuals with Down Syndrome. DSAA has a wealth of resources to assist educators and professionals to better serve children with Down syndrome. We offer a variety of publications and trainings, and are always only a call away.
DSAA Peer Program
We invite you to contact DSAA if you are interested in having someone visit your classroom to present a Peer Program education session. Peer presentations provide educators and families ideas on how to communicate to classmates about the differences, similarities and needs of individual with Down syndrome. Also included is afollow up letter (insert letter PDF) you can send home with students. For more information or to schedule a session email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve attached a sample training deck for you as an FYI about what the session could look like.
All About Me
Do you want to get to know your student with Down syndrome better? Invite your student's parents to complete the All About Me Booklet created by an affiliate group (Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City). The "All About Me Booklet" is designed to help parents introduce their child with Down syndrome to their teachers. This 12 page booklet helps teachers better understand likes/dislikes, communication needs, strengths and learning needs.
What is IDEA?
IDEA or The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
In IDEA 2004 Congress defined the purpose of special education: "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living" and "to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected"... (Section 1400(d)).
Read more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
What is an IEP?
Special education and related services necessary for each individual student is defined by their unique needs and is supported by an Individualized Education Program(IEP).
An IEP is a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised. It is the road map that describes the student, where they need to go, and how they are going to get there. It must include a statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, a statement of measurable annual goals, a description of how and when the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured, a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aides and services, among other important details.
The student's IEP is developed by an IEP team, which includes a variety of educators and therapists dependent upon the student's unique needs. Parents are also equal members of the IEP team and have the right as well as the responsibility of advocating for their child. There are due process procedures in place should the team members disagree with a service and/or placement recommendation.
There are a variety of ways and classroom settings an education program (IEP) can be implemented. Some students will be included in their neighborhoods general education classes, while others may require a specialized curriculum provided in a special education classroom for a portion or all of their day. Supplemental aids or services are provided when necessary to support the student regardless of which classroom setting they are placed.
Post-Secondary Education and Beyond School:
Not long ago, 18 to 21 year old students with cognitive disabilities had only one option; to stay in high school in order to receive services under IDEA. However, now there are many colleges and universities that provide post-secondary programs for students with cognitive disabilities. In some cases, students are enrolled in both the high school and the college even though they receive their IDEA services on the college campus.
A growing number of two and four-year colleges and universities are now including students with cognitive disabilities in educational, independent living and vocational programs. Students in comprehensive transition and post-secondary programs receive a variety of supports and are often provided opportunities to participate in regular college classes with support from peer mentors or instructional staff. They also may audit or otherwise participate in regular courses, participate in internships and other vocational opportunities, or enroll in courses specially designed for students with cognitive disabilities.
Over 120 such programs are listed on the US Department of Education-funded website: www.thinkcollege.net.