Down Syndrome – Three Tips for Educating Your Down Syndrome Child

One of the most daunting questions about having a child with Down syndrome is how to best educate them. A child with Down syndrome will have more specific educational needs than a typical child.

Mental retardation is the general rule for kids with Down syndrome, so you will be entering a whole new world of special education. But don’t despair! There are many systems set up to make sure that your Down syndrome child receives the best education possible, tailored to his or her needs.

Laws Guarantee Your Down Syndrome Child’s Education

The first thing you should know about Down syndrome education is that every child in the U.S. is entitled to what is called a free and appropriate education. That means that your child will be educated in the public school system in a way that fits his or needs, and this is guaranteed by law.

When your child enters school, testing will be done to see what kind of services your child needs. An IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, will be written to address your child’s unique needs. If the school is not able to provide for your child’s needs, there is a process by which you may be able to get the school to pay for a special school that can.

There are many different therapies and accommodations that the school can provide for your Down syndrome child. The specifics, in terms of which services are appropriate for your child, will be decided at your first IEP meeting.

An IEP does the following:

  • Identifies your child’s disability, and lays out how it affects their ability to be educated.
  • Lists goals that the child should be able to accomplish during the school year – both academic and functional, such as life skills goals.
  • Provides a mechanism for how these goals will be measured and assessed.
  • Specifies the specific aids and services that will be needed to meet these goals – for instance, tape recorders, sensory aids, note takers, aides, a modified curriculum and so on.

A helpful website to learn more about IEP meetings is http://www.wrightslaw.com. IEP meetings are usually conducted once a year so adjustments can be made to your child’s services as he or she changes, if needed.

Three Things to Look for in Your Child’s School

Most kids with Down syndrome are educated in public schools and receive special services. If you have a choice between public schools, or want to choose a private school instead, here are some things to think about.

1. Will your child be educated in an inclusive environment or a self-contained classroom?

A lot of schools these days educate Down syndrome kids in the same classes as other kids, pulling them out for specialty services like speech and occupational therapy. They have an aide to help them navigate the mainstream environment. This helps them learn better how to interact with their typical peers, and their peers how to better interact with people who have disabilities. Some still use self-contained classrooms, where people with disabilities are grouped together. Some use a mixture of both.

Look into what transition support services the school offers for making the move from high school to beyond high school. This will become important later on.

2. Supports Your Child May Need in School

There are several different areas that your Down syndrome child may need support in once he or she enters school, and you will want to be aware of all of these.

  • Academic support is an obvious one, but you will also want to make sure your child has support out on the playground.
  • He will need help interacting and feeling integrated with his classmates, and you will want someone there to make sure that no bullying is going on.
  • Some kids with Down syndrome will still need help in the bathroom, using the toilet, at least at the very beginning of their school years.

Other areas of support can be added once you observe how your child is doing in school.

3. Another Option – Private Schools for Down Syndrome Children

If you feel your child cannot cope or thrive in a regular educational setting, there are private special education schools just for kids with Down syndrome. There are not a whole lot of them, and it is not the most common way to do things, but they do exist. (There are a lot of special education schools that accept kids with all sorts of disabilities, but fewer dedicated to only Down syndrome.) One example of a school dedicated to the education of Down syndrome kids is Pathfinder Village in Edmeston, New York.

Education for Down syndrome kids can seem confusing and overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. There are many resources available to guide you: books, websites, teachers, and other parents who have been there. This is where a support group with other Down syndrome parents will come in handy to share experiences with what works. With a little legwork, you will be well on your way to ensuring a wonderful educational experience for your Down syndrome child.

Multiple Intelligences – Educational Success

Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences has been grasped by the education community as a wonderful and meaningful way to acknowledge, “We are not all the same, we do not all have the same kind of minds, and education works most effectively for most individuals if… human differences are taken seriously.” (Gardner, 1995)

Today’s education is riddled with funding issues, dropped music and art classes for economic purposes, and problems with lower test scores. Why aren’t new teachers using Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences” as a tool to reach as many students as possible?

The Multiple Intelligences are: Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual/Spatial, Intraspective, Interspective, Logical/Mathematical and Linguistic. Gardner suggested three more intelligences-Naturalist- Natural Environment, Spiritual/Existential- Religion /Philosophical, Moral- Ethics, Humanity, Value of Life.

These last three “intelligences” are more difficult to assess, but have been recognized in people who have improved the quality of life for others.

Human differences, our uniqueness, offer valuable contributions to society. There is creativity in everyone. Studies have found that after the rigors of raising a family, or after retirement, latent talents have been discovered, and these talents were present throughout life, but not encouraged.

It is up to parents and teachers to provide intelligent environments. Many were educated with teachers and parents who did not encourage cultural diversity, and did not say they could draw a purple tree, or sing an off- beat song. They did not ignite their imaginations, and give them quiet time to process the world’s wonder and its’ opportunities. No, multiple intelligences was not stressed in the teacher education classes, or spoken in the Pediatrician’s office. School systems, so caught up in fiduciary problems, don’t even think about getting to the root of education, which is really teaching, tailored toward the child. The IEP’s (Individual Educational Plan) rarely include assessing the “talents” of the child and then incorporating that learning style into his curriculum.

To teach using the Multiple Intelligences, students should be sitting at tables of six. If there are desks, they may be arranged in a group of six. The chairs or desks, should have space underneath for book storage. Each table or group is a team. The room is like a corporation “brainstorming” room. The teacher chooses the captain (facilitator), recorder, materials leader, for each group and the jobs will rotate around the group.

The responsibilities of the captain will be to keep the table’s students on task, and will be in charge of reporting the results of the final project. Another student will record who is doing what task for the project. This helps the teacher grade an individual student on the project. Each table will become a “team,” and create a team name. The teacher guides the class through the steps of the lesson, and the material’s student at each table will be the only one getting up for the supplies needed for the lesson. Each student’s talents will be used within the group.

Establishing stations- A student who is strong musically, and weak numerically, should be taught numerical and logical skills through music, and not by numbers alone. Math stations should provide headphones with songs including math formulas, etc. There should be an art station, writing, listening, organizing station (housing materials), and any other to encourage learning.

Finally, education using the multiple intelligences will be addressing apprenticeships, so a student will get a chance to explore a trade or profession that works within his or her intelligences. This is not to track a person into a trade, but the right apprenticeship will feel natural, and most likely bring the student into a field that will bring many years of joy since it was tailored toward his or her skills and abilities.

Education is in trouble, and there are many reasons, but using the Multiple Intelligences is one tool to bring us to the forefront of global learning.

How to Wreck-Proof Your Wealth Plan – Part 2

Creating wealth is as dangerous as stalking a wild animal: if we do not understand everything possible about money and treat it with respect and manage it with great skill it will destroy us as quickly as any beast of prey.

YOUR WEALTH-PROTECTION CHECK-LIST

RETURN OF THE WARRIORS

According to Theun Mares in his book The Return of the Warriors: life is as much about hunting today as it was in the past when men were the hunters going out each day to hunt for food. In those days they took the hunt very seriously. Hunting animals was a dangerous business and if you put a foot wrong you could end up being the food rather than bringing it home. On the other hand if you simply sat at home and waited for the food to appear it very rarely did.

HUNTING MONEY REQUIRES TOTAL DEDICATION

Today we no longer have to hunt for food; we buy it at the supermarket with money. But don’t kid yourself nothing has changed. While we no longer hunt for food we still have to hunt for the money with which we buy it. Sitting at home waiting for the money to arrive is about as stupid as the hunter waiting for the Kudu to politely arrive at the door and accidentally fall into his cooking pot. We have to go out and stalk it.

The hunter leads a disciplined life and is totally dedicated to hunting. The hunter is a disciple of hunting and directs all his efforts towards knowing everything possible about hunting. And stalking money is as dangerous as stalking a wild animal.

MONEY HAS NO MERCY

Creating wealth is exactly the same: if we do not understand everything possible about money and treat it with respect and manage it with great skill it will destroy us as quickly as any beast of prey. Money is a slave and it works for whoever puts it to work. Money will provide the best return to those who manage it correctly and will destroy those who show it little respect. Money has no mercy.

In the same way that a hunter lives the hunt to the full in order to succeed, so we today must direct our full attention towards money if we wish to conquer it and succeed in this arena of wealth creation. Wealth does not fall into anyone’s hands by chance; it has to be captured with patience, slowly and carefully.

GENERATING WEALTH

A Wealth-Generation-Plan or Budget is one in which:

  • You hunt money with dedication, integrity and care.
  • Your target is to get every rand of income to generate another rand. This is the ideal and you may never quite achieve it; but the closer you get the wealthier you will be.
  • Wealth generation and financial security come first; you come second and luxuries come last.
  • Your first target is to stop paying PAYE Tax; in other words to eventually earn an income other than from a job.
  • Your second target is to put seed capital before any other outflow or expense; that is to allocate the very first part of your (after tax) income to investing money in such a way that it will bring back more money – i.e. growing your money. The secret of wealth is acquiring income generating assets.
  • Your third target is to set aside money to get out of debt.
  • Your fourth target is money to meet your monthly financial security goals.
  • What is left will have to meet the balance of your needs and keep you alive and healthy – e.g. food, clothing etc.

WEALTH-PROTECTION CHECKLIST

If we combine wealth-protection, wreck-proofing and Kiyosaki’s three stages of wealth-creation we end up with a 3 stage wealth-protection checklist that will work something like this depending on your needs and circumstances:

STAGE 1 – FINANCIAL SECURITY involves:

  • Setting out your investment philosophy and your investment guidelines which incorporate your lifestyle and financial priorities. Warren Buffett Wealth by Robert P. Miles is an excellent guide.
  • Writing down the broad outline of a Wealth Creation and Wealth Protection Plan (that is divorce friendly!)
  • The introduction of a Wealth Creation Budget with Seed Capital
  • Having correctly structured books of account and financial statements for both personal affairs and businesses – regard yourself as “JB Smith Ltd” and Monitor your WC Budget and NAV monthly and annually with a simple Accounting package
  • Banking right – maintaining a good bank credit rating
  • Maintaining a good credit rating with Retail Stores
  • Ensuring correctly structured tax returns and business activities that minimise taxes and maintaining a good standing with the local Revenue Service
  • Maintaining a healthy Life-style and hospital protection as opposed to expensive medical aid
  • Disability insurance (tax deductible in certain countries)
  • Cost effective Life Insurance for the longest possible term with Future Protection (guaranteed future option on life cover)
  • Funeral Cover
  • A correctly formulated Will
  • Motor Vehicle, Household and All risk Insurance
  • Your personal motor-car-maintenance plan to hold the asset value as high as one can
  • You personal household-maintenance plan to hold the asset value as high as one can
  • Working hard in a job and on your wealth protection strategy
  • Being a Passive investor – still strongly dependent on the guidance of financial experts. A Risk Management Strategy with emphasis on Moderate-risk and Long-term Investments
  • A Personal Book-of-Life that holds all your Insurances, Life Policies, RAs, Assets and Liabilities, SOGW worksheet and Will in one place
  • A Wealth Plan work sheet with a list of assets and liabilities, purchase costs, improvement costs, dates of acquisition etc
  • A Financial literacy Programme and
  • The Science Of Generating Wealth by Wallace D Wattles

STAGE 2 – FINANCIAL COMFORT involves:

  • Retirement Planning and Tax Deferred Retirement Investing that provides maximum tax free income on retiring
  • Estate and Tax Optimization Plan
  • Educational Plan for the kids
  • Running your own business on the side
  • Establishing a mastermind advisory panel which includes an ontological leader coach
  • Paying for your car in 3 years and holding it for 6; i.e. paying off two cars in 6 years
  • Paying your bond in 10 years or less, accessing the bond for cheap finance (especially for motor car and credit card debt), and ensuring via a bond broker that you always have the lowest bond rate
  • Buying pre-owned time share
  • Tax efficient investment plans such as endowments
  • Endowment based holiday plan to fund quarterly breaks annual holidays and overseas travel
  • Dread disease insurance
  • Inter-vivos and business trusts to protect assets where cost effective
  • Medical Aid appropriate to your health condition and family needs
  • Life Cover and Retirement Investments for spouse
  • Optimization of Wealth Creation Budget – maximizing the percentage of money working for you
  • Optimization of NAV growth
  • Strict Cash Flow Management
  • Risk Management Strategy with emphasis on Moderate Risk Investments and risk containment
  • Collective Investments (Unit Trusts/Mutual Funds) and other moderate risk Long Term investments – 10 years or more
  • Emergency Fund – 3 months income in low risk liquid investments
  • Work hard and smart
  • More active investor – taking charge and responsibility for your wealth – less dependent on the decisions of financial experts
  • Wealth protection and wealth creation in balance
  • Financial Literacy Programme continues
  • Experience stage of financial literacy programme – learning from mistakes

STAGE 3 – WEALTH AND EXCESSIVE CASH involves:

  • Active and independent investor – all your money working for you one way or another and achieving your desired ROI
  • Resigned from your job to mange your wealth plan full time
  • Business optimization: business works without you and achieves desired ROI
  • Business Succession Plan in place
  • Buying value business investments or acquiring assets without money
  • Business Investments and acquisitions continue to flourish
  • Acquiring Portfolio Investments – Share Market Investments
  • Refined Risk Management Strategy with a mix of more aggressive investments
  • Diversification of Risk including 20-30% offshore investments
  • Property Investments generating recurring income
  • Working smart and loving what you do every minute of the day
  • Living in your ideal home and driving a cost efficient luxury car
  • No problem you can’t handle
  • Active independent investor and business owner – calls on experts for their expert opinion but makes own decisions
  • Low maintenance recurring and passive income
  • Sustainable creation of excessive cash a daily habit
  • Continuing to learn from active involvement but now with fewer mistakes

NO NEED TO RETIRE

When it comes down to real wealth there are no shortcuts. Creating real wealth takes time. It is a marathon. It takes 15 to 30 years and it initially involves work. So the sooner you begin the better. But the good news is that when you are wealthy you never retire and you never work.

Hard work however is all relative. If you do what you love work is never hard. Warren Buffett at the age of 76 says that he “Tap dances to work” each day. He has a wealth protection based approach to investing that reduces risk to a minimum and optimises income and his system has made him either the first or second wealthiest person in the world.

The rich put immediate comfort and luxuries before wealth. They laugh first for sure, but it does not last, and when it really matters they are crying while the wealthy are having the last laugh.

But those who laugh last laugh longest and with this plan when you get round to laughing you will laugh long and hard because you have your priorities in the right order.

A COACH IS ESSENTIAL

But make no mistake you will need a master mind advisory group and ontological or generative leader coach to assist you to realise this strategy. It is extremely unlikely that you will achieve it on your own. Contact me at Science of Generating Wealth when you get serious about making this a reality in your life. We all have invisible barriers to our success: barriers that we have created ourselves. But barriers that are invisible to us. To dissolve these barriers we need an ontological coach. There is no question about it.