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Homeschooling a Child with Down Syndrome

Homeschooling a Child with Down Syndrome
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Parents often wonder if there is one “right way” for teaching students with Down syndrome. Education for children with Down syndrome should encompass much more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Developing gross and fine motor skills, self-help skills, and social skills are as important to your child as traditional academic skills.

Many families who are homeschooling a child with Down syndrome report their student is flourishing while learning at home. Discover some of the unique strengths and challenges your child brings to learning plus some strategies that can be applied when working with Down syndrome students.

Homeschooling and Down Syndrome

If you are a parent who has chosen to homeschool a child with Down syndrome, you have joined the ranks of many families who find that a customized education makes sense for them. Because of special issues related to the syndrome, such as weak auditory processing, anatomy-related speech issues, and possible medical concerns, your child’s needs may not be met by a public or private school system.

Homeschooling provides the flexibility to mix and match resources, tools, and curricula for children with Down syndrome. In fact, homeschool has multiple benefits for kids with special needs including:

  • The ability to school at a time of day when they’re most attentive (even if that is at night!)
  • Being able to stop and start instruction as needed during the day, with frequent rest breaks.
  • The opportunity to change methods, programs, or approaches when something isn’t working well.
  • The ability to schedule therapies (if required) during school hours.
  • Self-paced learning
  • Using curricula that matches their preferred learning style
  • Fewer distractions in the learning environment
  • Unlimited accommodations while learning

Strengths and Challenges of Students with Down Syndrome

Students with Down syndrome typically have good social skills that can be leveraged to boost learning and fine-tune your teaching method. Because students with Down syndrome struggle with speech and language, using clear language and short sentences will improve the way they learn. Online home education for down syndrome students offers the ability to put emphasis on visual learning and build on emotional responsiveness where these students excel at. Get more information on the strengths and challenges of students with Down syndrome.

Teaching Math to Students with Down Syndrome

While math is a challenge for many individuals with Down syndrome, the right combination of curricula, visual aids, and support can make a significant difference. Homeschooling gives you the flexibility to customize a math program to your unique learner. Find out what you need to know to help you successfully plan out your math instruction on our Teaching Math to Students with Down Syndrome page.

Teaching Reading to Students with Down Syndrome

Many students with Down syndrome become effective readers. To flourish with the written word, your child needs reading strategies that build on their natural strengths. Discover what those are and how to capitalize on them, as well as what types of reading programs work best for your special learner on our Teaching Reading to Students with Down syndrome page.

Curriculum Options for Students with Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome often benefit from a multisensory learning experience, using as many channels of input as possible. They also retain material better using repetition that expands and reinforces previously learned skills. In general, for students with Down syndrome, teaching resources that have a heavy visual component are usually the ideal. With these factors in mind, some of the most popular curriculum options for your student may be:

  • Online education – web-based lessons and activities that are multimedia, colorful, and engaging can be a strong choice for students with Down syndrome
  • Literature-based – curricula that use picture books with plenty of graphic imagery can also work well, particularly if your child enjoys reading
  • Hands-on – the addition of programs with a heavy kinesthetic component can help students with Down syndrome better incorporate what they are learning with their daily life

On the other hand, most children with Down Syndrome would not usually flourish with programs that were heavily auditory, require lengthy periods of attention, or focus too intensely on worksheets.

Time4Learning Online Education for Students with Down Syndrome

A computer based curriculum may be part of the educational answer for children with Down syndrome. Research has shown that for students with short-term auditory memory deficits, language learning that is supported by visuals and/or symbolic movements can help children with recall.

Time4Learning is an online interactive curriculum used at home for homeschooling, after school reinforcement, or summer study. For hundreds of families in different countries, Time4Learning is the a favorite choice of curriculum for Down syndrome students. Here’s why:

  • Language Skills – Auditory processing difficulties, combined with anatomy-related speech issues, frequently cause communication challenges in children with Down syndrome. Time4Learning’s curriculum includes a multitude of interactive language arts activities, such as allowing a student to practice telling a story by arranging pictures on the screen. This type of activity is great for promoting communication skills whose receptive language ability exceeds their expressive language ability.
  • Multisensory Feedback – Many students with Down Syndrome are either visual or kinesthetic learners. Time4Learning’s educational learning system builds and reinforces skills within an entertaining online environment. With friendly characters, interactive activities, and fun musical videos, Time4Learning makes learning engaging from preschool through high school.
  • Computer-Based Instruction – Online courses, interactive videos, personal computers, laptops, and tablet devices provide exciting and engaging materials that children with Down syndrome often thrive with. Children look forward to interacting with the animated characters that appear in many lessons. Day-to-day interaction with familiar characters stimulates interest and provides motivation.
  • Student-Paced – Because Time4Learning imposes no scheduling constraints, it is ideal for students who need to proceed at a slower pace. Each lesson may be repeated as many times as necessary. Students can work at any grade level appropriate for them and can be placed in different grade levels for each subject. Children progress at their own rate using multisensory learning that helps each learning style.

Check out our lesson demos for your grade level and different subjects to see how Time4Learning can help your child.

PreK - 5th

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