Saturday, March 26, 2011

Down with the Syndrome

http://sites.google.com/site/downssydromecom/



I created this website with the hope of providing vital information and resources to parents, students and teachers working and living with children with Down Syndrome.

From information gathered on medicineNet.com:
"Down Syndrome can be best defined as a common chromosome disorder due to an extra chromosome number 21, therefore instead of having the typical two copies of the chromosome, the person with has three copies.  This chromosome defect causes mental retardation, a characteristic face, and other numerous malformations.  Physical and intellectual development in addition is affected by the chromosome abnormality.  It is also associated with a major risk for heart defects, lesser risk of duodenal atresia (when part of the small intestines does not developed) and a smaller rick for acute leukemia."

My first experience working with children with Down Syndrome was five years ago, when I was hired as a summer intern at Community Gatepath, working in the inclusive preschool the organization opened the year before.  There were two students in the classroom with Down Syndrome that really made an impression on me.  Even though they both had DS they couldn't have been more different.  Before working with them, I was naively under the impression that all Down Syndrome children were the same.  I quickly realized that that definitely wasn't the case!  For example, one student had a high level of cognitive abilities, but lacked in speech development.  While the other student was highly developed in speech, had cognitive delays, and needed visual schedules along with extra support from teachers.  My experience that summer made me realize that I wanted to work with children, and more specifically children with special needs.

This is currently my third year working in an inclusive preschool, and my second year as a one-on-one aide for a child with Down Syndrome.  I haven't experienced anything more challenging and rewarding.  There is nothing that compares to watching these children succeed.  I love how feisty, stubborn, independent, and unapologetic they are on an everyday basis. :)

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