Education, Inclusion & IEP

Education Inclusion & IEP

A majority of parents of children with Down syndrome want inclusive education for their children from the very first day of school through age 21. Study after study has shown that inclusion in mainstream schools is beneficial for individuals with Down syndrome.

INDIVIDUAL is the key word - here are helpful tools to share with parents, classmates, teachers, school counselors and administrators to get to know your child as a individual -  ABOUT ME BOOKLETALL ABOUT ME- BOYALL ABOUT ME - GIRL. Print out the attached form or Call the DSA office at 205-988-0810 or email to request a template that you can edit, tailor and embellish.

Another fund idea is to create an ABOUT ME POSTER - Pinterest has templates or sign up for free account to download free teamplates from ABC Teach. Sending a letter to the parents of your child's classmates is another way to present an introduction, offer awareness, make connections, and invite interaction - here is a sample from a DSA parent. 

Individuals with Down syndrome may have specific educational needs, but more importantly to identify are the many needs and abilities that are the same as the other pupils in their age group. There are benefits to being in a general language and communication environment and strides that can be gained through the examples of academic learning provided by the other children. As identified the student with Down syndrome in order to reach their full potential will also receive specialized services in speech and language therapy, physical and occupational services, adaptive PE and transition planning.

Students with Down syndrome in public schools are eligible for special services, free of charge, when identified through the student’s individualized education programs (IEP). The IEP describes the goals the education team sets for a child during the school year, as well as any special support needed to help achieve these goals. The updated version of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) made parents a crucial member of their child's education team. When parents understand how to access these services they become effective advocates for their children. Ideally parents work in cooperation and directly with educators to develop, review and then evaluate the individualized education program (IEP) partnering in the success of the school year – year upon year.  

The parent has the right to call for an IEP meeting at anytime that the child's needs have changed and his school program needs to be adjusted. If the IEP does not seem complete or accurate, parents may appeal the results through review, mediation or only as a last resort a process known as Due Process or Fair Hearing. The school district must provide information on this process if it is requested.

Students in inclusive classrooms make measurable progress when socially included and accepted, benefiting from age appropriate role models which has a profound positive effect on academics, self-confidence, self identity and self esteem. This is especially evident when the whole of the school (students, teachers, administration and parents) is caring and supportive in ways that the students with Down syndrome genuinely experiences being a valued part of the school community.

The IEP, grade after grade, should include plans and preparations that the student with Down syndrome will need for their transition from high school to life after high school.  This is a very important transition and will take ample preparation and practice. With that in mind, it is important for individuals with Down syndrome and their families to begin thinking about transition from high school as early as possible A well-developed transition plan within the IEP ensures that the student has steps in place to reach his or her goals after high school and it is the best way to alleviate the stresses that can accompany this inevitable transition. Transition from high school can be a time of excitement, productivity and great satisfaction. Planning and preparation for high school transition from an early age can help the individual with Down syndrome mature into an adult and reach their potential for independence. 

NDSS Education
NDSC Education

IEP Individualized Education Program: 

describes the goals the education team (teachers, resource professionals & parents) set for a child (ages 4 through 21) during the school year, as well as any special support needed to help achieve these goals. 


Parent Checklist
What is IEP
Writing Your Child’s IEP
Alabama Department of Education – IEP 


Adapted Physical Education (APE)

is the art and science of developing, implementing, and monitoring a carefully designed physical education instructional program for a learner with a disability, based on a comprehensive assessment, to give the learner the skills necessary for a lifetime of recreation and sport experiences to enhance physical fitness and wellness. [Wikipedia]



Assistive Technology 

students with Down syndrome can have the opportunity to learn to use technology at the same time that they are learning academic subjects and social skills. The efficient and effective use of assistive technology can be a basic a skill for students with Down syndrome since the use of technology can go a long way toward providing these students with a vital skill for many areas of life accomplishment and quality of life. 





Alabama Department of Education – Special Education



Other Resources

Education Law - Understanding IEP Due Process Hearings 


Deborah Maddison - Wiggins Childs, Attorney

The Kress Building, 301 19th Street N, Birmingham, AL 35203

Phone: (205) 314-0561
Fax: (205) 254-1500


Shane Sears - Law Offices of Sears & Sears, P.C. 

Specializing in advocating for children with special needs in the public school system

One Chase Corporate Center, Suite 400, Birmingham, AL 35244

Phone: (205) 313-6334
Fax: (866) 754-9453


Drake Denton - LPC Licenced Professional Counselor 

5809 Feldspar Way, Hoover, AL 35244 

Phone: (205) 422-0683