People with Down syndrome can’t read.
The Learning Program demolishes that myth by giving children with Down syndrome tools for literacy. LP provides instruction for parents and their children ages 3 through high school. The workshops train parents how to be their child’s first teacher with research-based materials on how children with Down syndrome learn. Parents receive books and vocabulary cards to take home each month and are asked to read with their children daily. While the parents attend their own workshops, the youngest, ages 3-9, are in small groups rotating activities with a development specialist, speech and language pathologist and a teacher specializing in intellectual disabilities. The children develop reading and vocabulary skills, and a love and enthusiasm for books. Reading is a life skill that grows and develops with the individual so Gold Coast created LP Social Groups and LP Get A Life! programs for middle and high school students. At this stage, they learn vocabulary and reading that helps to build life skills and independence.
Research has shown early intervention and a home literacy environment lead to children with Down syndrome having a greater interest in reading. Greater inclusion in school, work and social groups starts with the ability to read and comprehend the written word. These children can learn to a level that allows them to succeed in a general education classroom, graduate from high school,attend college programs and have hugely increased employment opportunities. Children with intellectual disabilities educated in a general education classroom have a 73% employability rate. This is significant, because of the over 2.5 million persons in the United States with intellectual disabilities, less than 20% are employed.
The Learning Program takes children from their first books to texting with their friends to filling out job applications. Because people with Down syndrome can read. All it takes is someone to teach them.