Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Homeschool Down Syndrome

I can't believe we're already in October!  In honor of Down syndrome awareness month and because I have a daughter with Down syndrome, I want to share a little of our experience.

Each individual with Down syndrome is unique. Individuals with Down syndrome vary in their abilities and their related medical issues.  You may have seen actors with Down syndrome, like Chris Burke, Sarah Gordy, and Lauren Potter.  Thanks to early intervention programs and therapies like speech, physical and occpational therapies, individuals with Down syndrome can do almost anything a 'typical' person can do.  Many individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities or challenges are going to college.  We shouldn't place limits on our children with special needs.  They need to be challneged just like any child, which is one of the reasons we chose to homeschool Down syndrome...or to homeschool our daughter with Down syndrome. 

Children with Down syndrome can be and should be included in extra-curricular activities such as dance, soccer, karate, cheerleading and acting. Our daughter has enjoyed participating in a homeschool ballet class for the last 3 years and in a physical education class.  She's also learned to read, is learning to write well and is learning math. We just need to repeat concepts more often than I did with our other children.  She loves the computer and can easily navigate the learning web sites we use.  Not because I taught her, but because she taught herself.  Because she's a visual learner and she needs a lot of repetition, the online curriculum for all her subjects, including our homeschool spelling curriculum is the best choice we've made for her education. In addition to her curriculum, we spend a lot of time reading good literature for homeschoolers.  We often read together.  When she reads alone, sometimes I'll ask her to tell me what she read so she can get her thoughts together.  Once she's expressed herself out loud, it's easier for her to write a short paragraph.  Reading is her favorite pastime, besides dancing and singing. She can get lost in a book for hours.

Again, all individuals with Down syndrome are unique. So while my daughter loves to read, her struggle is with math. I've met children with Down syndrome whose strength is math. So each child with Down syndrome is different, just like each typical child is different.

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