Q. I teach in a small charter school and have a student with Down syndrome who just started in my fifth grade class. The other students are asking questions about her. What can I do to make this year be a positive experience for her and the other students?
A. It’s good you want to help her transition to your school. Let her and the other students know that she’s a kid like them who may look different and who has abilities and strengths like any other student. Having each student fill out a sheet with their likes, dislikes, things they do well, and things they need help with may help everyone get to know each other better. Sometimes asking kids to take turns being “buddies” for each other helps them realize how much alike they are and what they have in common. Talking to her parents about her strengths and challenges may be important. It also may be a good idea to have all the parents in the class meet and have her parents share as much information about her and her disability as they are willing to share.
For more information, contact The Arc Minnesota via phone at 833.450.1494 or submit your question online at arcminnesota.org/ask-an-advocate.