September 11, 2010

DownsEd Conference in Atlanta - Fantastic Program!

I attended the DownsEd (Down Syndrome Education) Conference put on by DownsEd International and sponsored by the DSAA..... and it was fantastic! I chose to sign up for the one-day parent essential segment of the program, an all day series of seminars discussing how our kids with Down syndrome learn, how we can best help them with communication, reading, behavior, etc.

The ideas set forth were backed up by 25 years of research by the DownEd organization based in the U.K., and practical activities and methods were given for us to take home and put to use with our kids.

One important thing I learned was that our kids have awesome visual short term memory, which allows them to learn sight reading very early. I was so impressed by the videos of three year olds with DS reading three word sentences! By capitalizing on the kids' strengths, we were taught how we could best teach them. Likewise, we were taught to avoid teaching patterns that emphasize our kids weaknesses, such as their auditory short term memory. (i.e. - use pictures and written words to teach instead of only using oral repetition)

DownsEd's sight reading curriculum has been packaged for use at home and is available for purchase or for you to download for free onto your computer. (Click HERE to learn more about the DownsEd See and Learn program) The theory behind their reading program is similar to "Your Baby Can Read" or "Love and Learning", but it is tons cheaper and pays much attention to comprehension of what the children are reading.

Although I have only mentioned their views on teaching kids with DS to read, their website has tons of articles, research, videos and practical materials on all kids of issues, such as expanding kids' memory, etc.

If you ever have the chance to attend one of these DownsEd conferences, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity - it is such a valuable learning opportunity and worth every penny!

1 comment:

  1. I would love to attend the conference one of these years. Someday. Sounds very interesting and something that I would totally enjoy and learn a lot from. I've been teaching Matthew some words to read by sight using photos and written words that I made and the guidelines in the book "Teaching Reading to Children with DS". He can read his own name (he says "ew") and at least 7 other words now. And i know he can learn to read more. I'm just taking it slow. He'll be 3 on Oct. 5.