Tips, Advice, and Networks to Support Your Family when Homeschooling a Child with Down Syndrome
Disclaimer: Throughout this series, we will be using the diagnostic language and terms that most people who are searching the Internet will use to find information. We fully understand that using any term to categorize children may result in generalizations that may not apply to every child, stigmas associated with that term, and the possibility of overlooking the many beautiful positive traits that exist when we look at the whole child. We celebrate the differences that make us unique individuals and learners, and we write everything in this series with the hopes of benefiting all children and their families. Resources are provided as options for you, may not represent the views and opinions of A2Z Homeschooling, and in no way are meant to replace medical or other professional advice.
Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. Although children with Down syndrome may share certain physical features, they are as different as any other group of children, with unique strengths and challenges that affect their learning. Teaching students with Down syndrome can be challenging, but the rewards—the “Aha” moments—can be amazing!
When you begin homeschooling a child with Down syndrome, you may not feel confident. You may not have been trained as a teacher, especially a special education teacher, and you may feel overwhelmed with questions: “How do I start?” “What is the best curriculum for Down syndrome?” “Who can help me?” “Where can I find resources?” Teaching students with Down syndrome doesn’t need to be a lonely undertaking. There are many supports out there in the forms of organizations, books, other families, formal support networks, and free online information.
To get you started, here are some resources you may want to explore:
|Advice and Stories from Families Who Are Homeschooling Down Syndrome|
|Homeschooling Down Syndrome Support Groups|
*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although most of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.
Tips and Considerations for Homeschooling Down Syndrome
Your first question when you begin homeschooling may be, “How do I homeschool a child with Down syndrome?” Professionals, organizations, and homeschooling services are out there with answers and suggestions. Try these resources as you begin your research:
Home Schooling and Down Syndrome | Home and Family
Read this list of tips for homeschooling a child with Down syndrome by Jaime Connor, an author who has published several articles on Down syndrome.
Homeschooling a Child with Down Syndrome | Hand in Hand Education
Read about possible strengths and challenges your child with Down syndrome may exhibit and discover a list of strategies to help you homeschool your child based on those strengths and challenges.
Homeschooling a Child with Down Syndrome | Time4Learning
Learn about the benefits of homeschooling when you have a child with Down syndrome, as well as strengths and challenges of students with Down syndrome. Find information on teaching math and reading to students with Down syndrome and a discussion of curriculum options that are most helpful for students with Down syndrome. Discover how Time4Learning can help in your homeschool.
Advice and Stories from Families Who Are Homeschooling Down Syndrome
Finding out what the professionals say about homeschooling a child with Down syndrome can be a great first step, but you also may want the family perspective. Luckily, those who have paved the road for you are also willing to share their stories and advice. Explore these resources to learn from other families like yours:
Home Schooling, and Teaching, a Child with Down Syndrome | The New York Times
Kari Wagner-Peck describes her son with Down syndrome’s transition from public school to homeschooling.
Homeschooling Children with Down Syndrome | Homeschool.com
Kelly Stone, homeschool mother of six, including a son with Down syndrome, shares her thoughts and experiences.
How Homeschooling is One Path to Inclusion for Some Students with Down Syndrome | Inclusion Evolution
Read as former journalist and teacher, and current advocate, Geralyn Spiesz, shares her homeschooling experiences with her son, Lucas, who has Down syndrome.
Homeschooling Down Syndrome Support Groups
Maybe you want a more direct connection with families who can share the homeschool adventure with you. You can join general homeschool support groups or special needs homeschool support groups, or you can participate in groups that are designed to support families who are homeschooling a child with Down syndrome. Do some research on these support networks to see how they fit with the needs of your family:
Down Syndrome Home Schooling Q&A
“This group is for those who have a child with Down syndrome, and you are interested in homeschooling. Parents who are currently home schooling are volunteering to answer your questions and share our journey with you, as you discern if this is the right thing for you and your family. Please note, we are volunteers, and we will be able to help you as we can, but we are not here to debate our decision to homeschool our children. Welcome!”
Homeschool and Down Syndrome
A Facebook page “where parents can get together and support each other who homeschool their child with Down syndrome.”
Homeschooling & Teaching Kiddos with Down Syndrome
“A place where families can find support and tips with teaching their kiddo with Down Syndrome. Whether it’s just temporarily, additional, or full-time education.”
Homeschooling and Down Syndrome
“Homeschooling and Down syndrome is the largest worldwide homeschooling group that services families who homeschool at least one child with Down syndrome.”
Homeschooling Children with Down Syndrome
A Facebook group “for parents homeschooling children with Down syndrome.”
Other Resources on Down Syndrome
Hopefully, the resources above can give you a sense of direction for homeschooling a child with Down syndrome. However, you may also want to check general resources on Down syndrome that don’t focus on homeschooling. These resources may provide you with additional information on what is happening in schools and organizations, current research and expert opinions, or teaching strategies. Knowledge is power, as you know, and these resources may give you a good foundation on which to build your homeschool:
Down Syndrome Education International (DSE)
DSE’s mission is “to improve early intervention and education for children with Down syndrome around the world.” Browse sections on research; information and resources; and advice, support, and training.
Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (DSRF)
This is a comprehensive website containing information, programs, resources, and an events calendar. Find conferences and workshops, videos, and podcasts, as well as written materials on everything from “What is Down syndrome?” to educational, physical, and psychological development.
Facts about Down Syndrome | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Learn the basics of what Down syndrome is, as well as its prevalence, types, causes and risk factors, diagnostic methods, and treatments.
Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL)
This network of organizations works to “improve the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education, and advocacy.” Explore the website to find information and FAQs about everything from the history of Down syndrome and the importance of person-first language to research, medical care, and programs and events.
Lumind IDSC Down Syndrome Foundation
Explore this website’s wealth of information on research, list of support resources for families, and other Down syndrome resources. Browse the events calendar for conferences and other events.
National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS)
Find age-specific resources whether you are expecting a newborn with Down syndrome, have a child or teen with Down syndrome, or are a grandparent of a child with Down syndrome. Explore the website to find general information about Down syndrome and research updates, as well as resources for siblings, skill development resources, and events.
National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)
Discover Down syndrome facts and myths, a Q&A for kids, general resources, publications, and educational resources, as well as a helpline and a US map of local support organizations.
Also be sure to check out our Down Syndrome Homeschool Resources page, as well as our Special Needs section, for more information and resources to help you teach and support your homeschooler with Down syndrome!
Do you have experience homeschooling a child with Down syndrome? Please share suggestions or resources with other families in the comments below…. If you are new to this journey, feel free to ask questions as well….