If you are a parent reading this, you likely have a child with Down syndrome, as I do. My intent with this article is to provide you with some information about how an occupational therapist (OT) may be able to help you and your child. Occupational therapists who work with children have education and training in child development, neurology, medical conditions, psychosocial development, and therapeutic techniques. Occupational therapists focus on the child's ability to master skills for independence. This can include:
- self care skills (feeding, dressing, grooming, etc.)
- fine and gross motor skills
- skills related to school performance (printing, cutting, etc.)
- play and leisure skills
When your child is an infant, your immediate concerns relate to his health and growth, development of the basic motor milestones, social interaction with you and others, interest in things going on around him, and early speech sounds and responses. At this stage, an OT may become involved to:
Sports & Therapeutic Recreation Instruction/& Developmental Education (STRIDE) Recreation for Challenged Children
STRIDE's Mission: STRIDE is a not-for-profit, 100% volunteer organization, dedicated to enriching the lives of children with disabilities, by offering sports and recreation opportunities. Challenging people, potential, and possibilities.
ECDCD provides information, referral and support to families and professionals working with children, both typically developing and those with special education needs, ages birth through five
A parent's first encounter with the Individualized Education Program--the IEP--can be intimidating. However, participating in special education planning is critical in assuring positive long-term outcomes for students with disabilities.
Parents and guardians of school-age children with disabilities need to be familiar with relevant regulations and procedures for developing an IEP to fully participate in IEP development and long-term planning. Similarly, students who have attained legal adult statues in their state and have assumed responsibility for their own IEP need information to assure information participation at their IEP meetings.
The special education system can be confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming. The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is the written document that outlines your child's specific educational program. We know a strong IEP is necessary for our child's individual needs to be met. Yet is is common for us to feel insecure and unprepared during our child's IEP meeting. Surrounded by teachers, administrators, and special education personnel, our voice can get lost. This toolkit was written to help you find your voice.
As family members of a child with Down syndrome, we come to IEP meetings with love for our child and a commitment to his or her education. We must also come with a strong understanding of the IEP itself, detailed information about our child's specific needs, and an understanding of appropriate goals. This IEP Toolkit is designed to help you gather the necessary information. Focused preparation is essential to the development od an effective education plan, and a strong IEP leads to improved educational success for your child.