The IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides that children with disabilities will be served from birth through 21 years old. The ESE (Exceptional Student Education) Department of the School District of Palm Beach County provides these services from age 3 through the school year of a student’s 22nd birthday. The child moves from a Family Support Plan to an IEP, Individualized Education Plan. This transition from receiving therapies to writing goals related to educational objectives is challenging at times and families should educate themselves on the differences and how they may affect their child.
Each step on a family’s journey through their child’s education may be seen as early intervention for the next step. While Early Steps emphasizes developmental milestones through therapies in preparation for preschool at age 3, Preschool is the early intervention for Kindergarten. Making each step meaningful is a thoughtful process that begins with the end of school in mind.
If we believe that children with Down syndrome are children first, then we should also believe that adults with Down syndrome should have full, valued adult lives in the community. Individuals who have Down syndrome are life long learners. Starting early by setting goals that lead to interesting, productive lives alongside other citizens can make a big difference. That is why Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization advocates for inclusive education. Every minute spent in a segregated classroom away from typical peers and positive language and behavior models is a trade that must be chosen carefully, if at all.
Today, adults with Down syndrome tell us and show us that they want a life similar to their brothers and sisters. They want to go to college, live away from home, access leisure activities of personal interest, and have meaningful relationships with people who may or may not have disabilities.
- U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION POLICY STATEMENT ON INCLUSION OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS September 14, 2015
- Resources for Early Childhood Inclusion
- Early Childhood Learning Info from Florida Center for Inclusive Communities
Gold Coast provides training opportunities for families whose children will be transitioning to preschool or kindergarten. The trainer discusses the differences between services in early intervention, preschool, and kindergarten, the IEP process, what to expect, and how to prepare. Educational Advocacy is a project of the organization that members may access. Families may be supported through the IEP process with information and training. The IEP document, developed through a partnership between school and home is driven by a student’s present level of performance and indicates the point at which to develop goals that will lead to academic and social success. A student will have an IEP as long as they are receiving special education services. Your child has the right to go to school and the right to have a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).
Families have discovered that the education of a child with Down syndrome is positively impacted when parents participate as an equal partner in the process with the school. This means communicating with your child’s teachers, working with your child at home on all aspects of education: academic, social and behavioral; and knowing what your child is currently able to do at the time the IEP is written. Often this is accomplished by keeping records (data collection) at home.
Children with Down syndrome want to be independent just like their typical peers and it is important that parents provide learning opportunities to move in this direction. Parents often report that they feel unequipped to “teach” their children so we will use this webpage to list links to various education related websites. Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization wants to help you supplement your child’s education at home to achieve their greatest success in a home/school partnership and open doors in the community. This is why we are an affiliate of The Learning Program. Please let us know of more links to post here. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 561-752-3383.