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Posted by Sharon on June 03, 2000 at 00:18:23:

In Reply to: Teacher needs Advice posted by Cindy on May 31, 2000 at 04:16:54:

: Hello, My sister and I are coming to the parents with Down Syndrome for advice. My sister is a first grade teacher with no prior special ed experience, but guess what she is going to have a child with Downs in her classroom. Please give any advice you can on where she can find material to read, what parents with Downs children want their children to experience in school, and any other advice you would like to share. We need your help!!!! We only have three monthes to plan for next year and we want to make next year a great school year for every student in her classroom. Thanks Cindy

Hi Cindy,

How fortunate your sister is to have family
support and how wonderful it is that she is
so dedicated to her students. I think the advice
you received from the three previous replies
is great. I just thought I'd add that there
are such firms called "Inclusion Consultants".
Check around in your area. I live in New Jersey
and the consultants used for planning and
monitoring my son's full inclusion are located
in Long Island, New York. My son has always
been included in regular ed, but it's crucial
that thorough plans be made. For example, my
son is in second grade now and as the curriculum
becomes more challenging we need to become more
creative with modifying the content to fit
his unique skills. He has his own inclusion
assistant whose job it is to "shadow" him to
insure adaptations are made when necessary, and
to facilitate interaction with peers. There should be a teacher involved with a special education background who may either team-teach or collaborate with regular ed teachers to make
things go smoothly. My son has a difficult time
with language and only says a few words, but he
signs. The other children are really drawn to
this skill that he has and they are so enthusiastic to communicate with him. He is well-
liked, invited to birthday parties, and has a
sense of acceptance and belonging to a group that
he would not experience in the self-contained
classes I've observed. Don't feel like you are
alone. Nearly every year we began with a teacher
who was skeptical. Get the support you need from
the child study team and administration. Also,
many states have parent advocacy and support
networks (not just for parents with children who
have Down syndrome, but children with other challenges as well) who may have information on full inclusion. One more thing, I always have my son meet the new teacher before September and visit the new classroom, so that he can see a familiar face and place when school begins. Good luck. Sharon

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