Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that can cause developmental delays and impaired cognitive abilities. Though teaching children with Down syndrome can be a truly rewarding experience, many parents and even teachers fall prey to misunderstandings and myths about students with Down syndrome. If you have a student with Down syndrome in your classroom, understanding and acknowledging some common misconceptions about the condition can help you become a better educator—and can help your student make the most out of his or her time in your classroom.
● Misunderstanding #1: Students with Down syndrome can’t handle group work. Some teachers assume that children with Down syndrome will become frustrated or distraught at the idea of working directly alongside their neurotypical peers. However, children with Down syndrome usually show strong social skills, and can make an excellent addition to most group activities. Professional development courses for teachers in Harrisburg and throughout PA that focus on inclusivity can help you integrate more group activities into your blended classroom.
● Misunderstanding #2: Students with Down syndrome can’t follow classroom rules. Many people assume that if a child has Down syndrome, he or she should get a “free pass” when it comes to breaking classroom rules. Though some students with Down syndrome may need a little extra instruction and encouragement, high expectations within the classroom can actually help the student grow and develop better social skills. Speak directly to the student when explaining rules and use short, concise sentences for higher success rates.
● Misunderstanding #3: Students with Down syndrome need constant one-on-one attention. Though it’s true that students with Down syndrome often need a bit more instruction than other students, excessive one-on-one attention can cause the student to become overly dependent upon the instructor. Allow the student plenty of time to problem-solve on his or her own before helping—you might be surprised at the fresh perspectives and creativity children with Down syndrome are capable of all on their own.
When you complete your professional development hours in Harrisburg or anywhere else in PA through The Teacher’s Academy, you can fulfill your Act 48 requirements by learning fun and innovative strategies for creating an inclusive classroom. Give our team a call today at 800-713-1841 to learn more!