The rights of pupils with learning disabilities to an inclusive education has long been a subject of debate Pearpoint et al. Bird and Buckley have drawn readers' attention to the quality of learning experienced by children with Down syndrome in mainstream settings, and the developmental advantages which ensued. Katie's experience, through a partial integration model, certainly corroborates this. After considered debate, we decided on a partial integration approach Jenkinson, to Katie's education. We felt that to expect the First School teaching staff to manage her very specialised educational programme supported by alternative and augmentative communication approaches on a full-time basis would pressurise an already demanding schedule.
Over the four-year period, Katie's attendance pattern at the First School was changed from afternoon-only to whole-day sessions as she grew in confidence. On school days when time was divided between the Special and First schools, the IST provided transport between them. This was gradually reduced and, at the end of her four years at the First School, Katie was attending unsupported, with the IST making weekly visits to monitor her progress and offer advice to staff when required.
The integration of Katie's two educational experiences was orchestrated by the IST. She liaised between the Special and First Schools, ensuring that all Katie's teachers were involved in drawing up her Individual Education Programme targets and consulted about their implementation. A needs analysis was carried out to determine which subjects would be best taught in the light of Katie's special requirements by each institution. The shared record keeping was an important feature of this integrated learning programme as it should be of any such programme.
The First School staff accepted the challenge to meet Katie's particular educational needs with enthusiasm. Encouraged by the staff of the special school, they became increasingly aware of the benefits of sharing responsibility for Katie's education. As their confidence in their ability to implement effective educational strategies, and to deal with her sometimes awkward behaviour, grew, they adopted innovative approaches to subjects, enabling her greater access to the First School curriculum.
From participating in 'open' experiential areas such as Art, PE and Music, her academic experience was broadened to include Science and Technology and Information Technology. For her IT classes, the Special School were able to provide specialised programmes which helped not only Katie, but also other pupils with special educational needs at the First School. Although, as with any integration strategy there were unforeseen setbacks, the overwhelming evidence mitigates for its success.
As parents, we were delighted with the way the integration programme had been managed between the special and mainstream schools. We felt that Katie was getting the 'best of both worlds' and that her learning experience was broad and well-balanced. Her complex educational and social needs were being met by both settings in a way that neither school would have been able to manage in isolation. And Katie Whilst schools can and do assume considerable responsibility for integrating children with significant learning difficulties, we must not forget that integration is a shared responsibility between home, school and the community.
What social activities are available in the community which can be accessed by the child with Down syndrome? What is the attitude of various community groups to receiving a child with Down syndrome? What is their capacity to offer support?
Using Case Study Betsy to Understand Down's Syndrome & Dementia
Do they expect the parent to be the supporter? Not a totally satisfactory arrangement as it can impair the parent-child relationship - and sometimes the parent just needs a break! In addition to the time Katie spent in her local First School, she attended several groups in the village. These included our local church, where she joined a Sunday school class unsupported. In the dancing class she was greatly assisted by the fact that the other children had learned to sign, and would translate the dance teacher's instructions for Katie. The children also knew, almost instinctively, that Katie's dominant learning mode was visual and took time to demonstrate the steps to Katie.
In the dance shows, Katie's visual memory and recall was so good that she could lead others when they became stage-struck! Katie joined the Brownie pack in the village. Initially they asked for parent support while Katie settled into the group. They were also very interested in teaching the other children to sign, and asked for our assistance in doing this.
Katie progressed through some 20 badges, went on a Brownie camp, and joined in all aspects of Brownie life. Often the very sensitive Brown Owl assigned a trainee leader to support Katie, but the leaders learned to identify potentially difficult situations and to organise support within their own resources.
Community involvement is an essential part of integration. We, as parents, must undertake an education role within the community. If we want that community to accept our children with Down syndrome then we have to demonstrate positive, informed attitudes that can demystify traditional, ill-conceived attitudes towards children with Down syndrome, and enable community members to establish meaningful contacts leading to full acceptance of the person with Down syndrome in the community.
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Towards the end of Katie's time at the First School. I visited the class. These children had been with Katie throughout her four years. The school were always very good at keeping Katie with her chronological group.
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Too many times we hear of Down syndrome children kept in the reception class throughout their Infant School career, and this leads only to developmentally inappropriate management, and a repetitive curriculum experience that must be boring for the child. I asked the children to, 'write about Katie as if you were telling a friend who had never met her'.
Each child produced a letter: we did not discuss as a group their thoughts about Katie, so that each individual's responses were, within reason, their own thoughts. The letters written by the Year 3 children leave the reader with a vivid portrait of Katie. It is obvious from the statements they have made that they knew Katie intimately, and the letters cover all aspects of this relationship from the practical details of her appearance, through her likes and dislikes to their apprehension of her personality.
Modifications for students with Down syndrome
It is also notable that the great majority of statements are completely unrelated to her having Down syndrome, as though it were a minor detail lost in the greater significance of her other characteristics. There were 29 letters written by Katie's First School peers. Each letter amounted to a series of personal statements about a friend in the same class.
We isolated the individual statements made within each letter. Where a sentence contained more than one statement for example, 'nice and friendly' these were broken down into the constitutive elements. On occasions, contradictory statements were found within the same sentence, and these, too, were treated as separate statements.
Within the letters there were a total of separate statements, which, when rationalised by semantic content, gave 91 different statements. For example, 'smiling' and 'a smiling face' were considered to belong to the same group of statements. We found that the number of statements made per letter varied between 3 and In the following evaluation, the professional researcher will recognise that even with such basic material that was yielded by the letters, there would have been many other ways in which this data could have been treated. For example, further analysis could have led us to enquire how many statements from the different subcategories were present in each letter, and to assess statistically the significance or otherwise of the findings?
However, we decided not to take the evaluation further than we have done. In offering this as one possible model of a pilot exercise for the 'parent as researcher' it is important that we acknowledge that valuable feedback can be made available to professionals from straightforward treatment of data, and that parents have limited resources - time being not the least of these.
The statements were separated into three categories: statements which concerned Katie's characteristics, i. We created six subcategories with the data in Tables 1 and 2. Ranked right to left across the tables, the represent an increasing depth of personal relationship.
To elucidate: any of the observations about Katie's physical appearance could have been made by a stranger within the first few minutes of being introduced to her, while the observations about her personality could have been made only by people who had known her for some time and therefore suggest that there has been significant personal interaction. As readers may appreciate, it was sometimes difficult to allocate statements, as there are the inevitable degrees of overlap between the subcategories.
I do not propose to comment on Columns 1, 2 or 3. Apart from giving the reader contextual information about Katie, they are not indicative of a deep relationship, although they would be important if we were considering the predominance of certain kinds of statement within each letter. As pointed out above, a stranger could have made the observations in Column 1. Columns 2 and 3, also, do not contain evidence of much more than a basic locational relationship; the information imparted about age, family members, etc.
Column 4 contains highly contextualised statements about Katie's behaviour. That these, sometimes individual, incidents have been worthy of particular mention says as much about the contributor's personal list of 'do's and 'do not's, although they are behavioural specifics of which the more general forms can be found in the succeeding columns. The two girls were very different personalities, one, Kathleen, much more compliant and more able than the other. The other girl, Jennfier, with a great sense of humour, also had a heart complaint, for which finally, after much fighting by the parents, she was able to receive surgery.
Both girls were visual learners, Jennifer was slow to speak and Makaton was used with her when she first came into Nursery. The school also used multisensory techniques and received much support from home. Things they found worked really well:. In this respect, such issues must be approached as case studies.
The goal of this research was to note, define and describe supporting strategies of language and communication skills development and learning outcomes of language and communication skills of a boy with Down syndrome at the end of the first grade of elementary school. Therefore, the role of prerequisites for developing boy's language and communication skills was also subject of this research. The participant in the case study was a first-grader with Down syndrome who has been included in the regular educational school system and attends classes supported by a teaching assistant.
In addition to monitoring the student in class and analyzing the paperwork, parents were interviewed in order to understand student's language and communication skills development.