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Posted by Micelle on October 29, 2000 at 11:11:13:

In Reply to: inclusion posted by Debbie on October 25, 2000 at 10:32:54:

: I am an inclusion teacher trying to develop a successful inclusion program for a 2nd grade child with Down Syndrom. It is hard to know what he does and does not know. I have limited time to be in the classroom. He does have an assistant. Can anyone help me with strategies for including this child? Thanks, Debbie

My daughter is in a regular 8th grade classroom and has always been in inclusion. The best advice I can give you from our experience is use a lot of common sense. Look at the material that is going to be presented and modify your class room goals and material to fit the level of your student with Down Syndrome. Since you are not quite sure where your student is - be real basic. You might present the subject and then offer a real simplified testing procedure like 3 multiple choice questions or ask a verbal question or have the child do something to demonstrate he/she got something. I cannot emphasis enough about smiling and modeling to the other students respect and love toward the person with the disability. This lesson will last longer for your students than anything else you will ever teach them. Inclusion provides our students with disabilities much stronger life skills. For example I remember the teacher was frustrated about teaching contractions and wondered what my child was really getting out of it. I suggested we keep exposing and planting the seeds of knowledge because I personally believed after a while the knowledge would sprout. In 4th grade we had mastered the beginnings of using contractions correctly, but the seeds had to be planted and watered frequently (even during droughs when we thought nothing was happening). Our daughter is very strong in reading and weak in math. We made a lot of books using family pictures and pictures of friends and classmates. We used word flash cards and made sure these words were the ones also used in the home made books. We used a lot of students as peer tutors helping and modeling. You and the assistant should have in the IEP something where one or both of you use classroom time each day to facilitate positive interaction between the student with DS and the other students in the classroom. This relationship building will pay off in many ways as the other students in the classroom usually find ways to teach our children that we would never have thought of. Many times the other children can interupt what the child with DS is saying. It's really important to build up self esteem and relationships. Using lots of hands on objects the student can manipulate is good in math. We let our child use a calculator many times in math. I hope these few ideas helped. Keeping in touch with the family helps - knowing what's going on helps as you can ask the child questions you know the answers to help encourage self confidence.Good luck.

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