Read and Spell Blog

Which modifications can most help students with Down syndrome

Modifications for students with Down syndrome

Some learners with Down syndrome attend special schools where they are taught a specific curriculum and have lesson content and delivery adapted for their needs. Others may learn at home or as part of a co-op.

However, it’s increasingly common for children to enrol in their local education system where they can study alongside non-Down syndrome peers. There are a number of benefits to this, including the ability to enhance a student’s sense of independence, foster stronger ties within the community, and assist a learner in developing social skills. It may also prepare young-adults and teens for volunteer/work opportunities later on, and can generally be more convenient and financially practical for families.

But when a learner with Down syndrome joins a regular class, this also means that certain teaching approaches and exercises may need to be modified in order to ensure the student gets the maximum benefit from his or her studies.

helping students in special education

3 Ways to help students in special education

There a number of reasons why a child may need to attend a special education program at school. Special education can help learners who struggle with developmental delays, such as dyspraxia or apraxia of speech, and/or children who experience challenges with literacy and numeracy because of a specific learning difference.

It may also be that a physical impairment is affecting a student’s ability to learn in the same way as his or her peers and specific accommodations and materials are necessary. The basic requirement for a program to be considered special education is that it must address the individual learner’s needs in a way that wouldn’t be possible in a mainstream classroom. But just because a child receives extra support, it doesn't mean they are less intelligent or talented than their peers.

This program is working great. We are using it for our 6 year old and he is enjoying it. He wants to "do my typing" each day. Our 4 year old daughter watches with keen interest. The way it is designed really does include reading and spelling and not just typing. –

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The best Down syndrome blogs to follow

6 Down syndrome blogs to follow

For families who are just embarking on their journey, blogs are a good place to start. That’s because they give you a way to move beyond the medical facts and statistics your doctors might discuss with you and discover the practical and emotional sides of raising a child with Down syndrome. You can engage with the blogs' authors, join in on-going discussions with other readers, and learn more about families who are on a similar path to yours.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs when a child is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. In the past, it was assumed that children with Down syndrome would not benefit from early access to education. Thankfully today we understand that with the right support, these very special children can go on to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

Exchanging ideas and sharing tips and anecdotes can help you gain much needed perspective and provide support when you need it most. Blogs also serve as a platform for circulating the latest resources and research, and getting behind local and national causes. That’s why we’re sharing our list of the top Down syndrome blogs in 2018. We hope you’ll give them a read! With the right guidance, care and accommodations, every child with Down syndrome can go on to achieve great things.

Jobs for people with Down syndrome

Jobs for people with Down syndrome

A growing number of adults with Down syndrome enjoy greater independence and enhanced skills development today thanks in part to employment opportunities. Having a job builds confidence for people with Down syndrome, whether it is a paid or volunteer position.

It’s also a good way to increase awareness of learning difficulties among the general public, especially when it comes to showing the many talents these very capable and special individuals possess.

From working as baristas in community coffee shops to taking positions in national chains, handling the front desk at offices, or working with their hands in the great outdoors, people with Down syndrome can thrive in a wide range of positions when they have the support, drive and skills they need to perform the job.

What is child-led learning?

What is child-led learning?

Child-led learning is a term used to describe education programmes in which children are responsible for deciding what to learn. In some cases, it extends to kids being in control of how long they spend on a particular lesson and the methods and materials used for study. Quite often it is undertaken in a home-school environment or in a private tutoring context.

While this movement typically stands in opposition to a fixed curriculum, some schools offer individual classes or after-hours programmes that take a more child-led approach. There are also situations in which giving a child a greater role in deciding how much and what to learn is more appropriate, such as sessions for kids who struggle with learning difficulties.

Encouraging children with learning difficulties to succeed at school

Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Specific learning difficulties like dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia can make it difficult and sometimes impossible for a child to achieve the same results as his or her peers in a traditional classroom setting. Some children face a constant struggle with reading and writing and many are at risk for developing low self-esteem, particularly when their condition goes undiagnosed and/or untreated.

The thing to remember is that there are alternative learning approaches, strategies, and tools that can help students with learning difficulties achieve their full potential at school. Moreover, a positive attitude and plenty of encouragement from parents and teachers can do wonders when it comes to inspiring these children to stay motivated and persevere.

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teaching phonemic awareness

Teaching phonemic awareness

One of the key skills children must develop before they learn how to read is phonemic awareness— being able to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words.

Phonemes are the smallest units of sounds that can change meaning -- if you switch the middle vowel sound in hat, everything shifts from definition to part of speech and usage.

A child with phonemic awareness knows that sat is made up of three distinct sounds. They may also realize that sat and bat end in a similar sound and that hat and heart start with the same sound.

It is the recognition that language is made up of these sounds that is so important in reading.

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Touch-typing can support spelling skills and help students build confidence in and outside of the classroom

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Teaching children with Down syndrome to read

Teaching children with Down syndrome to read

In the past, children with Down syndrome were not considered capable of processing language in the same way as everyone else. They often received either no education or limited private tutoring, and were not able to attend regular schools.

Thankfully, things are very different today. We now know that individuals with Down syndrome benefit from a comprehensive approach to education. Many can accomplish great things, learning reading and writing skills from an early age, performing to a high standard in dance or some sports, for example, attending their local schools and sometimes even going on to graduate from college or university!

The right support from teachers and parents is significant in helping these very special children thrive and achieve their potential. 

How to build self-confidence in students

How to build self-confidence in students

It’s tragically common to find that students who have specific learning difficulties, motor skills difficulties, and physical impairments experience a lack of confidence in the classroom. This is particularly the case when learning differences go unrecognized.

The resulting situation is quite serious for children and young-adults. It colors their lives and can have significant implications for success at school, both in the present, and in the future.

Fortunately, parents and teachers can make a difference by fostering a positive self-image, encouraging independence, and helping students who are struggling get the right support and classroom accommodations.

Down syndrome interesting facts

Down syndrome interesting facts

With the right support, people born with Down syndrome are living fuller lives today. There is an increased understanding of the potential these individuals have to excel in areas that were previously considered beyond their abilities.

In particular, educational research aimed at understanding early developmental milestones has revealed that teaching children with Down syndrome to read can lead to greater spoken language gains at a younger age.

Early literacy skills development can encourage a preference for reading as a leisure activity later on in life, and an enhanced ability to participate in school activities.