As parents we want to make sure our school environment is accepting and understanding of our child. Many parents use “Down Syndrome Awareness Month (October)” and “World Down Syndrome Day (March 21)” as a way to explain Down syndrome and celebrate differences in the classroom.
Reach out to your child’s teacher first to get a sense of if/when it might be appropriate to visit the classroom and what the message might be based on the age of the class.
You may have to work with the principal and/or guidance counselor as well to discuss your approach, whether it be reading a book to the class about differences or doing activities that illustrate what it feels like to have speech or fine motor challenges.
Other topics might include talking about using person-first language and not using the “R-word” and how to be a friend.
Presenting facts about Down syndrome or writing a letter about your child that would be shared with parents of your child’s classmates are also effective ways to deliver your message.
Below are links to resources that can help you develop your educational approach with the school:
PowerPoint Presentation that can be adapted to meet your needs.
Unique simulations and videos to better illustrate a child’s struggles
Introducing Children with Down Syndrome Into the Classroom
Down Syndrome Awareness Materials for Teachers
NDSS Q&A About Down Syndrome for Kids
The world would be better if everyone were included