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Christian Families Home Schooling a Child with Down Syndrome: Kindergarten Resources
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This pamphlet was prepared by Diane Brown
120 Lullwater Road
Greenville, SC 29607
(864) 235-3323
Permission is given to copy with proper credits.
Note: Any prices given are approximate.

Preschool level material would be for Down Syndrome children about ages 5-8+
Skill Sample for this age group:
  • Brigance Inventory of Basic Skills (Pre-K-grade 9) (See the Early Intervention pamphlet for the number to call for this resource.)
         The Inventory of Basic Skills is a diagnostic manual similar to the Inventory of Early Development but covers grades pre-k through nine. You might consider purchasing the Inventory of Basic Skills if your child is older than about age 5 and you need a checklist of skills.

    * Woodbine House
    Special Needs Collection
    6510 Bells Mill Road
    Bethesda, MD 20817
    (800) 843-7323

  • Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome by Patricia Logan Oelwein @ $17.00 (This book is also carried in many local bookstores such as Barnes and Noble)
         This resource is starred because it is the number one resource that all families teaching a child with Down Syndrome ought to have, read, and implement even if you use some other resources for a K5 program. The first half of the book teaches you how children with Down Syndrome learn. The second half of the book teaches you in very clear steps how to teach reading to your child using a sight method. The author suggests learning about 50-100 sight words first and then moving into phonics. Even as you begin phonics, phonics and sight should be taught concurrently. The basics are given to get started with phonics, but there is not a lot of detail. Pat's philosophy is to teach children with Down Syndrome to read before they enter the public schools so that they would be seen as competent by their peers. So she will get you started with phonics using word families, but you will need to find a basic phonics program that makes sense for you and your child.
         After teaching your child 50-100+ sight words in Pat Oelwein's book, you can choose to begin phonics using Pat's book or find a kindergarten curriculum that teaches the short vowel words. Many children with Down Syndrome have been able to learn phonics. This will help them become more independent readers and spellers. Those that remain with a sight approach will always need someone to teach them words that they do not know, and spelling will be very limited. If your child seems to have good receptive skills, he may be able to learn some basic phonics. It is important to remember to use the sight method in Pat's book concurrently as you teach phonics.
         Here are a few general principles to remember when you are looking for a kindergarten curriculum.
    • Most curriculums are designed for normally developing children.
    • No matter what program you choose, you will need to adapt. There may be one lesson for the sound of /b/ but you may need to create enough activities for the /b/ lesson to last a week or more.
    • The workbook pages may be too cluttered, the print size too small, or not enough space for writing.
    • Focus on the letter sounds more than you do the letters' names.
    • Ignore the themes in curriculums if they do not interest your child. Find books that interest him and read to him. Ask one question per page. Allow him to point to the picture to answer if he cannot answer verbally.
         Remember that even though others have used this resource, it may not work for you. Do your homework before spending any money. This list, however, may give you a place to start looking.
    Educators Publishing Service
    31 Smith Place
    Cambridge, MA 02138-1089
    (800) 225-5750

  • Get Ready for the Code A
  • Get Set for the Code B
  • Go for the Code C
    (Each workbook is @5.00)
    The books teach consonant sounds and how to write them. Manuscript writing is used. You may choose to skip the writing pages if it is not the type of font you want your child to learn. You can also white out the letter and write in the letter style you want your child to practice. The set that follows these books is the Explode the Code Series.

  • The Three R's by Ruth Beechick @ $10.00 CBD Home School (978) 977-5055 (other distributors also carry this resource.)
    This set covers basic skills needed for grades K-3 and includes the following three booklets. The booklets give ideas to guide you in teaching skills at this level, however, some families may need more guidance than what these books cover:
    • An Easy Start in Arithmetic
    • A Home Start in Reading
    • A Strong Start in Language
Math Curriculums
     Look for curriculums that are hands on and activity oriented. If your child cannot write, just skip the pages that include number writing for now. You can also have him tell you the answers and you write them until he is ready to write the answers himself. Adjust directions that say to "color" to "circle" instead if coloring is too hard. Supplemental Resources
Carson-Dellosa Instructional Materials
See your local teacher-supply store (You may find many helpful items in their catalogue.)
The following 7 x 9 inch Home Workbooks usually have simple pages and can supplement any program you are using to give additional practice in many areas. Each book is about $3.00. Below are some sample titles:      A note here about cutting and gluing pages. If your child cannot cut, you do the cutting and allow your child to do the gluing part.
     The following two companies also have workbooks and games appropriate for this level.
School Zone
PO Box 777
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Frank Schaffer
Instructional Materials
See your local teacher-supply store or call 1-800-421-5565 for a catalogue

How long will Kindergarten take?
     While each child is unique, most children that I have come in contact with usually take about two years. It is important to keep school fun and successful at this level even if you have to spread lessons out over several days. If your child feels successful, he will want to wake up and beg you to do "school" the next day.

*The author used the BJU K5 Math. If you would like further information about using this math program e-mail or call.

Note: If you would like to use word families to teach phonics, call or e-mail for more information. The author taught using word families and helps other families that want to teach phonics using this approach. (dddwbrown@juno.com) (864) 235-3323

Revised: November 25, 2001.