Its good to start teaching kids with Down syndrome when they are young. There are infant programs available where workers come right to the home to work with toddlers.
Preschool helps by improving large and small muscle skills and by learning to play with others away from home. Public school preschool programs are available for kids with special needs.
As the child with Down syndrome grows older, school is an important part of their life. They learn academic skills and how to be a good friend. They also learn a lot by watching other kids.
In elementary school, kids with Down syndrome are part of a regular classroom. They move to the next grade with their classmates each year. They do as much of the class work as they can, with help. (see inclusion)
When they get to junior high school they still have some classes with their classmates, but also have special classes. These special classes start preparing them to become more independent. They start learning how to do things like clean, shop and cook. In junior high school they also have more opportunities to choose electives with their friends.
In high school they continue as in junior high, and also have opportunities to work in the community. This is an important time to learn about their personal interests and skills for future jobs.
Some kids with Down syndrome learn more with technology than just writing and books. Computer games are more fun and an educational way to learn. When they work on HyperStudio projects, disabled students sometimes figure out how the software works or how to program a button before other kids in the class. It makes them feel good when they can help other kids.
Our class did a couple of HyperStudio projects this year. Elijah did a good job on his. He knew how to make a back button, change colors, add sounds and type in information.
Elijah uses Co-writer in our classroom. Co-writer is a talking word processor, when you start typing a word, a list of words comes up to choose from. The computer also reads words to you. Elijah also uses the computer for reading, spelling and math games.