Sunday, February 6, 2011

Early Intervention and Education

The term "early intervention" refers to an array of specialized programs and related resources that are made available by health care professionals to the child with Down syndrome. These health care professionals may include special educators, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and social workers. It is recommended that stimulation and encouragement be provided to children with Down syndrome.

The evaluation of early intervention programs for children with Down syndrome is difficult, due to the wide variety of experimental designs used in interventions, the limited existing measures available that chart the progress of disabled infants, and the tremendous variability in the developmental progress among children with Down syndrome, a consequence in part of the many complicating medical factors. While many studies have been conducted to assess the effects of early intervention, the information is limited and contradictory regarding the long-term success of early intervention for children with Down syndrome.

The decision of what type of school a child with Down syndrome should attend is an important one, made by the parents in consultation with health and education professionals. A parent must decide between enrolling the child in a school where most of the children do not have disabilities (inclusion) or sending the child to a school for children with special needs. Inclusion has become more common over the past decade.

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