Formal education for children with Down syndrome begins almost immediately after birth, with early intervention programs that include physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Those programs also equip parents with techniques they may apply at home, while offering training in parenting skills.
Early intervention programs are defined by IDEA, but eligibility and funding models vary by state.
The objective is to give children a leg up on skills they will need to succeed once they enter public schools at age three or older.
Once they enter school, most students with Down syndrome need support.
While they are able to master a wide range of academic material and gain valuable skills, cognitive impairment and distinct learning styles can thwart even the most dedicated student.
There are several keys.
First, students with Down syndrome need the support of their families – parents must believe their kids can learn.