Monday, August 14, 2006

Education - Mainstream vs Special School

My Down Syndrome coffee group had a guest speaker today about schooling options. Anyway, it got me thinking about it. I am far from close to making a decision at the moment, however I think it will depend a lot on Sheena's abilities. If she is doing exceptionally well, then I think it will be a much tougher decision. Do I want her to be exceeding her school mates in a special school, or do I want her being constantly challenged in a mainstream school? I didn't realise that so many kids with DS are in the moderate range of intellectual disability, I thought most were mild to moderate and would easily be able to access special schools rather than special development schools. All kids can access mainstream schools, but will that be the best for Sheena? The thought of her having to have an IQ test at 4 years old seems absurd.

Looking at the kids in my coffee group, most are getting along really well - however most seem to have a cold or some other health issue loitering around.


Kim Ayres said...

Hi, I saw your comment on Downsyndromelife. My daughter, Meg, is 8 and a half - she's in mainstream education and has a support assistant.

My wife and I thougt long and hard about all the different issues, but in the end what made the difference was the notion of learned behaviour.

Children are natural mimics and we felt that if she was to go to a special school then she could learn inappropriate behaviour from other children who had learning difficulties.

She thrives in school and has a lot of friends. The kids all seem to accept her entirely as she is and we know that it was the right decision for her.

However, you shouldn't be worrying about all that yet. See how Sheena develops, what her personality is like, how she gets on at nursery etc.

When Meg was born we found that we were constantly worrying about the future, but we've come to realise that our future selves will be in a better position to make decisions than we are. Right now you just need to worry about the immediate issues of any 6 month old child, plus any health conditions she might have. Let schooling sort itself out in a few years :)

Kim Ayres said...

Hi Jo, thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog.

You said you were new to blogging and asked about responding more directly than posting on my blog.

There are 2 ways:

One is to email me directly - my address is available from my profile (click on the photo attached to this comment and look beneath the photo on my profile).

The other is to respond in your own comments section. The advantage to replying in/to your comments is that other readers can join in the discussion and sometimes you can get more information in the comments than you do from the original post. It also makes the commenters feel that their comment has been read, so are more likely to comment again in the future. Even if it's a day or 2 late, I always try to respond to any comments on my blog - I think it helps build up a regular readership as people will come back to see what you said in reply.

Hope that helps :)