Sue Buckley Conference

I’ve got a million things going on and wish I could post all of them. Just wanted to share I went to a Sue Buckley (Down Syndrome Education International – http://www.dseusa.org/en/us/) conference over the weekend in Austin, and I’m very excited about their new Reading and Language Intervention program. The seminar was focused on kids aged 5-11, and Noah (6 – Down syndrome) seems to be at the PERFECT stage for starting it.

For those of you familiar with their See and Learn materials, this seems to be the next step and a very well-rounded program with both a reading strand and a language strand. At the conference, I was also introduced to an iPad app that is based on their methodology and even uses the same pictures as are used in the See and Learn Program. The app is called Special Words – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/special-words/id451723454?mt=8. If you are already using their materials, I recommend the app. We’ve played around some with See and Learn, but I didn’t feel that Noah was ready for it.  I think he is ready for it now, and I let him use the app tonight.  He was matching the correct word to the correct picture on his second try through the steps.   I suspect he had memorized the placement of the pictures and he wasn’t truly sight reading, but even so it means he was remembering the placement of four items from screen to screen.  I’m eager to play around a bit with the app and see just how much I can manipulate it.  Exciting possibilities.

There is a lot of matching in these programs, and I have found that many children with Down syndrome are very good at matching.  One thing Ms. Buckley emphasized is the importance of comprehension as children are learning to read, be it through this or any other program.  As that was one of my earlier concerns about this methodology, I am encouraged that this may be a very solid program that could help our kids.

If you are in the San Antonio area, you should know this program is being piloted in several public schools in San Antonio.  If you hear a buzz about a new reading program – this is it!  Very exciting.

I’ll have more about the Reading and Language Intervention program as soon as I get the manual and start implementing it with Noah.  I’m a bit cautious with these new programs, but I have to say hearing Ms. Buckley speak and seeing not only the reading strand but also the language strand definitely got my attention and got me hopeful there is something in it for Noah.

So many changes for Noah in the next few months.  I’m either chasing rainbows or passionately pursuing the very best for my courageous kid.

Which one is it?

I’d love to hear from you.

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5 thoughts on “Sue Buckley Conference”

  1. You are passionately pursuing the very best for your courageous kid AND the journey over your rainbow will end with a pot of gold. Because, at the end of the day, you can look yourself in the mirror and know you did your best. Any one, who loves their children, like you do yours, knows the fear and uncertainty involved with parenting. My “little ones” are all grown and out on their own and I STILL suffer from pangs of guilt and worry over decisions I made 20 years ago LOL! Say a little prayer, be as educated as you can and trust your gut feelings. Noah is a lucky little boy!

    1. So nice to wake up to your comment this morning. It’s going to be a wonderful day! There’s a lot in being able to look myself in the mirror and know I did my best – the only thing that separates me from being an anxious insecure mess. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Blessings,
      Alyson

  2. I, too, am excited to get my hands on this program! I have been using a combination of techniques and materials rather than a program–consistent with Sue Buckley’s research, which I have followed for many years. Currently, I am tutoring several young adults with Down syndrome who never learned to read as children and I am seeing exciting progress! When I think back on my journey, it was Sue Buckley’s work that gave me so much hope and motivated me to learn all I could about reading and language development for kids with Ds. And I love having my “blogisphere” community to share experiences and ideas with!

    1. We so appreciate the trouble you take to share your resources with us. The biggest Amen moment at the workshop for me was when Sue Buckley said that studies are showing that a combo of phonics and sight-reading is how children learn best. I know that’s true of all my kids thus far. We do phonics to learn letter sounds and a little bit of blending, then sight reading for word families, then we settle down to do a bit of both.

      Another observation which is probably common knowledge to researchers is that these programs for teaching kids with special needs are solid for ALL children, it’s just your neurotypical kids can learn through less structured programs while KWSN may require the structure. I plan on using at least some derivative of Sue Buckley’s materials with my three youngest kiddos, but probably in conjunction with SRA DISTAR, Bob Books, word families, etc.

      Thanks so much for joining with us in the journey to teach children with Down Syndrome to read.

      Blessings,
      Alyson

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