Special-Needs Q&A (Spring 2015)

Q. Our school uses Memoria Press K-8 classical curriculum. Currently we have a child with Down Syndrome in first grade. We are looking for any help you could offer with new modifications to the existing curriculum.

Simply-Classical-Curriculum_Lesson-Plans_LevelsA-C

A. Children with Down Syndrome can vary widely in ability, but these initial thoughts might spark more ideas of your own:

  1. Create a Strategy Team
    • Include his parents, K and 1st grade teachers, someone in your school with special-education training or experience, and his therapists (speech, OT, PT).
    • Discuss his unique strengths within the MP curriculum.
    • Determine his most pressing areas of need (e.g., recitations, reading).
    • Brainstorm ways to modify instruction (e.g., more visual or manipulative materials, more repetition through regular tutoring at home or after school).
    • Plan ways to adjust his required responses (e.g., fewer written answers).
    • Set realistic short-term and long-term goals with a plan to reconvene each quarter.
  2. Obtain Necessary Support
    • Secure a thorough evaluation (cognitive, speech and language, academic) and request professional recommendations for specific academic modifications.
    • Provide recommended equipment (e.g., postural or writing aids for low muscle tone).
    • Ensure recommended therapies, if he does not yet receive these.
  3. Plan for the Future
    • Plan for needed modifications in second grade and beyond.

If you foresee a need for more intensive help, you might consider creating a resource room or a tutorial K-3 and 4-6 classroom for students with significantly different learning needs. Our new slower-paced, multi-sensory Simply Classical Curriculum is designed for such a situation.

ClassicalSpecialNeeds.com


Originally published in The Classical Teacher Spring 2015 edition.

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