Tuesday, 20 December 2011 21:23

Continuum Special Education Service


Research on specially designed instruction clearly supports high quality instruction provided to the greatest extent possible to meet the student's individualized education program (IEP) in the general education classrooms where students with disabilities have the greatest likelihood or receiving curriculum content delivered by highly qualified teachers. Schools may utilized a variety of combinations of special education supports and services to serve students with disabilities in general education settings and promote meaningful access, participation and progress in the general curriculum, including consultant teacher services, paraprofessional support, resource room services, and integrated co-teaching.

In response to a request by the local parent group, a clinic was developed to provide for the medical and psychosocial needs of adults with Down syndrome. One of the concerns of the parents was that their sons and daughters were not receiving an adequate evaluation when they had a decline in function and were being given a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease based on a presumption that all persons with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer's disease. The thorough evaluation that each patient receives is described. The majority of the adults seen show no decline in function. Of those that showed a decline in function, a small percentage were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, but most of those with a decline had a potentially reversible problem and, with treatment, most returned to their premorbid level of function.

Alzheimer's Disease, a degenerative neurological disorder characterized by progressive memory loss, personality deterioration and loss of functional motor capabilities, is far more common in individuals with Down syndrome than the general population. However, not all individuals with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer's disease, and even those showing Alzheimer's-type symptoms may not have Alzheimer's disease since other conditions can mimic the symptoms.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011 21:07

Life Planning and Down Syndrome

Written by

Rapid advances in clinical treatment and greater medical attention to people with Down syndrome during the 20th century have increased the life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome. As many as 80 percent of adults with this genetic condition live to age 55 and beyond. This new longevity needs to be incorporated into lifetime planning when a child is born. The law assumes that people over the age of 18 are competent to manage their own affairs regardless of disabilities, and parents are no longer considered legal guardians after this point. If protective provisions are not in place, the courts will make important decisions. Physical, social, financial and legal issues must be considered, as well as siblings and service agencies. A well-made life plan is essential for long-term quality life for your loved one with Down syndrome.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011 21:00

Self Advocacy

The self-determination movement makes it possible for people with Down syndrome to have greater control over all aspects of their lives.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011 20:57

Does Parenting Ever End?

Does Parenting Ever End?
By: Dorothy Robison, Marty Wyngaarden Krauss, Marsha Mailick Seltzer

Parents of children with Down syndrome commonly ask about the future: "What will life be like for my child when he is grown? Will it be possible for my child to live independently or semi-independently? How will I, as a parent, make the best decisions regarding how to support my child as an adult? What will my life be like?" In the early years, as their child participates in early intervention programs, parents begin to acquire a knowledge base about their child's needs and the services required to enhance their child's development.
As the child makes the transition into the public education system and parents begin to see their child in relation to other children without disabilities, they begin to form hope and awareness of the many possibilities that await adults with Down syndrome. They realize that much depends on the blending of public services and private dreams. They also realize that, regardless of which public services are available, the role of the family (and, especially, the efforts of the parents) remains paramount in shaping the possibilities of the child with Down syndrome. Parenting never ends; it is a lifelong responsibility that can be approached with joy, trepidation, or worry.
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 20:55

Sexuality in Down Syndrome

Written by

Human sexuality encompasses an individual's self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and social experiences relating to dating, marriage and the physical aspects of sex. Sex education, appropriate for the developmental level and intellectual attainment of individuals with Down syndrome, helps in engendering healthy sexuality, preventing unwanted pregnancy and diseases and in alleviating other problems related to sexual function.

All rights: Beacon Press/ 288 pages / October/Hardcover / 0-8070-2816-9 $25.00 U.S. / $40.95 CAN
A powerful story, based on an award-winning series of articles, about a modern family and Down syndrome.

Halfway through their first pregnancy, Greg and Tierney Fairchild hear the news all expectant parents dread: their baby isn't perfect. A routine ultrasound reveals that the fetus Tierney carries has a major heart defect. Making matters worse, the nature of the defect leads doctors to suspect it might be a symptom of Down syndrome. With those events as its starting point, Choosing Naia examines the exploding world of prenatal information—and the emotional maelstrom that ensues from an unwanted test result—through the prism of the Fairchild family's experiences. Rapid advances in prenatal testing are enabling doctors to diagnose with great certainty a wide assortment of problems inside the womb. But that's where certainty ends. As they struggle with grief and confusion, would-be parents have only days or weeks to make choices—abortion, adoption, or continuing the pregnancy and keeping the child—whose reverberations are bound to alter the course of many lives. In the Fairchilds' case, those choices are further complicated by race. Having married across racial lines, Greg and Tierney can imagine the discrimination felt by the disabled. Ultimately, that understanding informs their decision about whether and how to parent a disabled child. Once the choice is made, they face a difficult delivery, where Tierney's vigilance literally saves her baby's life, and high-risk open-heart surgery before the baby they name Naia can celebrate her first birthday. After clearing those hurdles, the Fairchilds face new barriers they must tear down on behalf of their beloved child for all the days of their lives.

Mitchell Zuckoff won the 2000 Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors for his series "Choosing Naia," which also was honored by the National Down Syndrome Congress and the American Association on Mental Retardation.

Ann Nobis, Speech-Language Pathologist

From first cry, to first look, to first smile, to first sound, to first thought, to first word, to first expressed idea, your baby will communicate with you and continue to grow with his or her communication skills throughout life.  Your baby has been born with the innate ability to learn to communicate as all babies have been.

Maryanne Bruni, BSc OT(C)

If you are a parent reading this, you likely have a child with Down syndrome, as I do.  My intent with this article is to provide you with some information about how an occupational therapist (OT) may be able to help you and your child.  Occupational therapists who work with children have education and training in child development, neurology, medical conditions, psychosocial development, and therapeutic techniques.  Occupational therapists focus on the child's ability to master skills for independence.  This can include:

  • self care skills (feeding, dressing, grooming, etc.)
  • fine and gross motor skills
  • skills related to school performance (printing, cutting, etc.)
  • play and leisure skills

When your child is an infant, your immediate concerns relate to his health and growth, development of the basic motor milestones, social interaction with you and others, interest in things going on around him, and early speech sounds and responses.  At this stage, an OT may become involved to:

Page 3 of 5