The Path to Inclusion: Parent Perspectives on the Transition of their Children with Down Syndrome into an Inclusion Classroom

by Emily Bryant

Institution: Brandeis University
Year: 2015
Keywords: genetic counseling; Down syndrome; parent perspective; transition; inclusion classroom
Record ID: 2062607
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10192/30552


Many studies have been done on the benefits of inclusion for children with Down syndrome and their typically functioning classmates. The purpose of this study is to gain a greater understanding of the parent experience as their child transitions from Early Intervention or Special Education classes into an inclusion classroom. Using an online, anonymous survey, we found that parents acted as advocates for their child in finding the people and resources that would best help their child be successful in the inclusion setting. We explored the relationship between birth order and perceived helpfulness of educational staff members and found no statistically significant differences between those who were the youngest or the middle child in their family and those who were the oldest or only child in their family. We also explored the relationship between income level and availability of resources and support and found no statistically significant differences between income levels. Every child with Down syndrome is unique and therefore their experiences with inclusion varied accordingly. However, parents??? hopes for their child are the same as for any other child; they want them to be successful, have friendships, and become integral members of the school community. We found that parents had to advocate for their child to find them the best resources that would help them succeed. Genetic counselors need to make themselves aware of the issues faced by families who are raising children with Down syndrome. By understanding the challenges faced by families transitioning to an inclusion classroom, genetic counselors can align themselves with their patients and families to provide needed support.