Down syndrome education
Down syndrome in an educations setting needs to be apart of a regular early year curriculum. Below are some activities that help kids at any grade level understand what down syndrome is and what it may be like to have down syndrome.
The activities included are great for parents to present to their childâ€™s class, a teacher to present to her/his class, or even a student to present to her/his class as a project.
Many of these activities are geared for the physical aspect of Down syndrome. As we know, someone with Down syndrome usually has low muscle tone, which makes it difficult for gross motor and fine motor skills along with articulating speech. This can give us a better idea of the physical challenges of Down syndrome.
- Hand weights
- Ankle weights
- Large marshmallows
- Socks (ask the kids the day before to bring them in)
These activities can be done in small groups, rotating. You may also do it as a whole group if you can get enough weights for everyone. Ask your schoolâ€™s physical education teacher for supplies. They may even want to help out.
-Holding arms up for one-two minutes…one arm having a wrist weight on it
or holding a hand weight.
Compare and contrast the difference in the arms and how tired the arm with the weight feels. This is how someoneâ€™s body with Down syndrome feels.
-Hoping on one foot at a time, first one foot with an ankle weight on it and then the other without. Again compare and contrast the difference of how the legs feel. This could be how someone with Down syndrome feels when the run.
-Put Â½ a large marshmallow up in the palette of the mouth then try telling each other what they had for breakfast. This gives a good understanding of how difficult it can be to speak clearly.
-Put socks on hands then attempt to tie shoes or play with some toys. This gives an idea of what fine motor difficulties are like. Try building a house out of playing cards. This seems like an impossible task. The important thing is that you tried. Just like it is important for a person with Down syndrome needs to try to do things. That person may just need to get help in different ways.
Also discuss how different people had different experiences because of the different tightness of the socks. It was easier for some people to tie their shoes than it was for others. This carries over for people with Down syndrome also. People with Down syndrome have all different levels of abilities. Some things are a lot harder for one person than it may be for another. Just like you and me.
Which carries over to one of the most important parts of the lesson. Discuss what the audience likes, such as pizza, music, dancing, and then talk about how people with Down syndrome like these things just the same. The point being made of how much you have in common.
To show off a little, you can have your guest star, the person with Down syndrome, show the audience how flexible he/she is. You will then be able to discuss how we all have strengths and something we can show do or show off.
Garth Brooks video â€Coming Out of the Fireâ€ has a young man with Down syndrome running in a track meet with typical kids when everyone (except his mom) thought he should running in the Special Olympics. Talk about inclusion.
Talk about Dr. Down and how Down syndrome got its name.
Also attached are copies you can print out of a coloring book and an introduction book. These books helps explain Down syndrome and also introduce your child in a way that shows how much he/she is similar to the other children in the class. The coloring book is great to be used in class along with this lesson. The introduction book is great to be used for the teacher before school starts, and also with the whole class, if they are done ahead of time.
A wonderful book to reference is: Understanding How Children with Down Syndrome Learn Proven and Effective Techniques for Parents and Professionals by Susan J. Peoples
Additionally, one of the best workbooks that I’ve run across is a simple coloring book called, “What You Should Know About Down Syndrome” …
The authors of these books have given express consent that they should be used in any constructive way possible. Please feel free to use within your school project as well as in your classrooms going forward.
[ipaper id=22093724 mode=book]
[ipaper id=22093019 mode=book]