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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Conversation Diary

This past weekend I attended the DownsEd Education Conference in Atlanta.

The conference workshop I attended was the essentials track for childhood (ages 5-11). It was a great workshop with so much useful information; although some of the information was the same I learned from the convention in Orlando, but it's always good to hear it again!

After listening to the therapists and professionals present their workshops it sure did make me wish we lived in the UK near Downs Ed International! They really seem so far ahead compared to the experiences we've had here. Most children with Down syndrome are fully included in the schools there and the therapists set the bar high from the get-go. Oh the things I know now ... kinda wish I could go back and start all over with Kayla! :)

Here is an article on research that was done between 2 groups of students with Down syndrome. One group was mainstreamed and the other group went to special schools. Its interesting to read about the results from the studies that were done. So there is no confusion, this is what mainstream means in reference to this study, "...the teenagers in the mainstream schools have been fully included in age-appropriate classes in their local schools, supported by a Learning Support Assistant for the majority of the day. They have not been in special classes or resource rooms in mainstream schools and, usually, they have been the only child with Down syndrome or a similar level of learning difficulty in school until they reached secondary schools. In secondary school, some have continued to be the only teenager with Down syndrome, but some have been with one or two others with Down syndrome."

That's what makes me wish we were in that school system. Inclusion is working over there.

So one of the tips I took away from the conference that I'd like to start implementing with Kayla and her school is called the Conversation Diary (the section is about 3/4 of the way down the page).

The Conversation Diary is different from the Communication Folder sent from the teacher. The Conversation Diary is a personal book the child takes between school and home. All it takes is writing down one sentence about what the child did at school/home based on what the child wants to share...it is essential that the child is actively engaged in choosing what he/she wants to tell. This way the child can share with teachers and parents about their day. If the child can not yet write the teacher/parent asks the child what they want to say and writes it for them using the shortest correct sentence form from their keywords. Example: "Played drum." would become "I played the drum today." Go over the sentence with the child and have them repeat it back to you.

The Conversation Diary will help support the child's development of spoken language, sentences, and grammar. I'm looking forward to seeing what Kayla comes up with for things she wants to share about her day.

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Kelly said...

How wonderful and very informative! I printed the article to read later on this evening. Thanks for sharing this Michelle=)

Mom24 said...

I think it's wonderful that you went and that you try so hard to stay up-to-date and current. Isn't it sad that it seems like you have to fight for everything, even when you know and research shows, it's best?

I love the idea of the conversation diary. I wish more schools were more open to real inclusion.

Carrie said...

I love the conversation diary idea. I think I need to start finding conferences to attend...people always come back with great info!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michelle! Great info, interesting idea!

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Imagine that... inclusion works. Why don't more people GET that?! UGH!!!! LOL