Inclusion of Students With Down Syndrome
After years of hard work, our Executive Director, Emily Mondschein, was invited to the nation’s capitol to discuss the inclusion of students with Down syndrome in the classroom. Mondschein has spent the past 5 years creating the first ever inclusive education guidance document for students with Down syndrome in the United States. This document was a collaborative project with the National Down Syndrome Society, Sue Buckley (psychology, researcher, and expert on early development of children with Down syndrome) and Alexandra DiLaura (local Special Education Director).
Students with Down syndrome are predominantly placed in self contained classrooms, depsite the years of research that shows the importance of inclusive settings for learners with disabilities, in aparticular, Down syndrome. Further, educators know very little about the well researched developmental and educational profile that students with Down syndrome possess. This knowledge is crucial for educators, both future and present, to have access to. The team met with the Federal Director of Special Education with the hopes that this guidance document would be disseminated to schools across the country. An action plan has been established, with next steps, and a plan for follow up with the office. What an incredible honor to consult with the highest position for special education at the US Department of Education!