Three tips for raising your child with Down syndrome

One of the most daunting questions about having a child with Down syndrome is how best to raise them. A child with Down syndrome will have more special educational needs than a normal child. The general rule for children with Down syndrome is mental retardation, so you enter a whole new world of special education. But do not despair! Many systems exist to ensure that your child with Down syndrome receives the best possible education tailored to their needs. Click here for more information about disability calculator.

The law provides the education of your child with Down syndrome

The first thing to know about Down syndrome education is that all children in the United States are entitled to free and affordable education. This means that your child will receive an education appropriate to their needs in the public school system, and this is guaranteed by law. When your child goes to school, a test will be done to determine what care your child needs. An IEP or individualized education plan will be written to meet your child’s unique needs. If the school cannot meet your child’s needs, there is a process where you can get the school to pay for a private school that can. The school has many different therapy and accommodation options to offer your child with down syndrome support services. Details on what services are available for your child will be determined at your first IEP meeting.

An IEP does the following:

It identifies your child’s disability and shows how it affects their ability to get an education. It lists goals, such as life skills goals, that the child must achieve during the school year, both academically and functionally. It provides a mechanism for how these goals will be measured and evaluated. It specifies the specific tools and services that will be needed to achieve these goals – for example, tape recorders, sensory aids, note-takers, aids, a customized curriculum, etc. IEP meetings are usually held once a year so that adjustments can be made if changes are made to your child’s services.

Three things to keep in mind at your child’s school

Most children with Down syndrome attend public schools and receive private services. If you have a choice between public schools or want to choose a private school instead, there are some things to consider.

Does your child want to study in an inclusive setting or in an independent classroom?

Many schools today train children with Down syndrome in the same classrooms as other children and refer them to specialized services such as speech therapy and occupational therapy. They have an assistant to help them navigate the normal environment. This helps them learn to interact with their typical peers and teach them how to better interact with people with disabilities. Some still use self-contained classrooms where people with disabilities live together. Some use a combination of both.

For the transition from high school to high school, see the transition support services offered by the school.


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