Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

Citizenship in Schools:
Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome 
Christopher Kliewer 

This reading was a little bit of a harder read for me and I had to go to other blogs to try and get a better understanding. Until I hit the parts of the writing that were more telling stories, I was lost. The stories did help but I still feel that I don't have a really good understanding. I also didn't get the chance to print this article out so I think having to read this one from this computer screen didn't help. What I did get from reading is that children with down syndrome and also other disabilities, are getting looked down on because people think they are not capable compared to any other child.  

"It's not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label. We're all here- kids, teachers, parents, whoever- it's about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that's what learning is. " (Page 75)
I thought to include this quote because I think it is important to realize the labels. Labels are put are kids with down syndrome and there is no need to put labels on them. We are all the same. Within the school system, it's not that some are just not able to learn, it's the fact that all students can learn and succeed but not on the same day or by the same way. 

"He didn't get credit for it because he didn't do it right, but he clearly knew which was the block, which was the spoon. And he followed directions in an organizing sense." (Page 84)
The quote comes from the section in which Isaac Johnson was basically being tested on his skills and ability to sort the spoons and the blocks. In this situation, he wasn't given credit because he did it differently. I think it is important to realize and understand that everyone learns and shows how they learn differently. No one should be treated differently because no matter what, no one should tell them there are not capable of doing anything. 

"As such, the label "communication-disordered" attached to any individual makes no sense. It is not the individual who owns the problem; rather, the dilemma exists in the interconnected relationships that both form and hinder community." (Page 94)
Labels, Labels, Labels. That's just the big problem. People think that these labels entitle them to certain things and abilities and they don't. When a person has any kind of disorder, the problem isn't with them themselves. It's how the community thinks and how they put restrictions on what they can do. 

Connection to Other Text:
This piece connects right to August's piece about safe spaces. Children in the school system are not getting the right education because teachers either don't know how to teach them or just don't understand how they learn. School should be a safe place for anyone to go to especially children with disabilities so they feel comfortable to be there. 

Points to Share:
In order to create these safe places, I think it's important to then have educators go to talks, or just trainings so they better understand. Instead of turning on a child because you don't know how to work with them, they will be more comfortable and help.


  1. I really liked what you said for your point to share. I think it's really important for educators to have knowledge of special education, even if they are a general education teacher. Even though I am not majoring in special ed, my SPED 300 class has given me so much insight to special education that I can definitely use in my classroom, whether I have students receiving special ed services or not.

  2. I agree, teachers and other adults involved in the child's life need to be trained or communicate with one another on how best to teach the child, rather than just give up. Safe spaces will help a lot.

  3. I enjoyed how you connected this week's reading to August's piece about making students comfortable in their classrooms. I know for secondary education I have to take SPED 433 and I wonder if just one class required for Special Education will truly be enough to give me the knowledge regarding teaching students with special needs. Good job!

  4. I think each of the quotes you included are highly important. Your connection to August is especially important. Just as August describes, the LGBT community deserves to be welcomed and acknowledged into the classroom- Kilewer highlights the importance of accepting the integration of disabled students and non disabled students. Just like sexuality does not define an individual, neither does a disability.

  5. Your last picture is so adorable but so moving. No teacher should tell a students parent that she/he is a lost cause. A teacher should go out of his or her way to make the student succeed no matter what the student is facing. We are the new future in the education field.