following is from the NDSS web site:
The inclusion of
students with Down syndrome in typical classrooms is a more rewarding
experience than expected for both students and classmates, according to
a recently released national study.
The majority of teachers
who participated in the nationwide study, commissioned by the National
Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and conducted by Gloria Wolpert, Ed.D., reported
that entire classes benefit from working with a student with Down syndrome.
Almost all teachers who responded found inclusion enjoyable, with some
calling it the single most interesting and rewarding experience of their
Factors which directly affect the success of an inclusive experience, as measured by both parents and teachers, include a match of teacher personality and style to the skills of a student. Teachers who are flexible, willing to modify classroom materials, and who utilize hands-on learning tools, are the bests catalysts for achievement.
Those parents whose children with Down syndrome had friends in class rated the inclusion experience the most successful and reported great benefits in the areas of communication, self esteem and independence. Teacher preparation is important for success, but surprisingly, formal training from the school district does not appear to be relevant.
A copy of the Educational Challenges Inclusion Study, which includes suggestions for classroom practice, can be obtained by sending a check or money order for $10 to cover printing and postage, to the NDSS Educational Challenges Program, 666 Broadway, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10012-2317.