Implications for Educators
Shortly after a diagnosis of Down syndrome is confirmed, parents should be encouraged to enroll their child in an infant development/early intervention program. These programs offer parents special instruction in teaching their child language, cognitive/academic, self-help, and social skills, and specific exercises for gross and fine motor development. Research has shown that stimulation during early developmental stages improves the child’s chances of developing to his or her fullest potential. Continuing education, positive public attitudes, and a stimulating home environment have also been found to promote the child’s overall development.
Just as in the typical population, there is a wide variation abilities, behavior, and developmental progress in individuals with Down syndrome. The level of ability may range from mild to severe, with the majority functioning in the mild to moderate range. Due to these individual differences, it is impossible to predict future achievements of children with Down syndrome.
Because of the range of ability in children with Down syndrome it is important for families and all members of the school’s education team to place few limitations on potential capabilities. It may be effective to emphasize concrete concepts rather than abstract ideas. Teaching tasks in a step-by-step manner with frequent reinforcement and consistent feedback has been proven successful. Improved public acceptance of persons with disabilities along with increased opportunities for adults with disabilities to live and work independently in the community, have expanded the educational goals for individuals with Down syndrome.
- Helping professionals in all fields −DSE provides information, advice and support to professionals from all fields who are involved in the care and education of individuals with Down syndrome.
- Conducting reliable research −All of the information, training and advice DSE offers to professionals is based on reliable and accurate evidence, drawing on the results of the DSE’s world-renowned research, backed by their unique collective experience working with individuals with Down syndrome.
- Working together to improve services −Through DSE publications, training workshops and consultancy services DSE shares the results of their innovative research and many years of hands-on experience with thousands of professionals around the world.
- Information resources −DSE produces many of the leading information and teaching resources for professionals providing services for individuals Down syndrome. These include books, periodicals, Internet resources, teaching materials, videos and DVDs.
- Training courses −DSE provides a comprehensive range of training courses suitable for professionals, focusing on ways to help children with Down syndrome develop and learn. These range from courses providing general overviews of key topics to workshops developing in-depth expertise and practical skills.
- Providing specialist resources −DSE operates a specialist mail order service so education, health and social care professionals have quick and easy access to DSE publications as well as recommended books and teaching resources for children with Down syndrome.