January 3, 2010

Pre-surfing - books!

When I was little, I was shocked to learn my parents did not have TV growing up - let alone color TV.  I now feel that way about my children and computers. We truly live in an age where technology changes so quickly that our children can keep up - but not us (I speak for my husband and myself!).

Our minds were not formed by bytes of learning. We said in quiet rooms for hours at a time listening to dedicated teachers talk. Today’s kids have the benefit (funding related of-course) of being in classrooms with computers, smart boards, interactive on-line lessons and immediate research capabilities. For those kids who do not have these advantages, exposure to this world of technology comes through TV and the movies. As they say “warp speed ahead’.

This adaptation to technology as our major source of information, communication and life skills development is particularly important to our children with special needs. In our case, and in the case of most children I know with down syndrome, computer skills are well developed. Alex can surf the web, use the word processor, prepare presentations and generally understand technology. However, this has affected her ability to read, and stay on task. We should never underestimate the power of the book.

When Alex was born, I was not able to "surf" the web to find reference materials on an as needed basis. Instead, I relied on recommendations from others, as well as long visits to the local library and book stores. Today if I need information I can find it instantly. However, my mind does not work so well with bytes of knowledge. I still enjoy books, and often go back to my down syndrome library acquired over the years.

In today's world I can find those books in a second and share them with others. Enclosed are the links to the books I found most helpful.

Sixteen years ago, I did not know too much about down syndrome, What I thought I knew turned out to be erroneous pre-conceived ideas.  I found the following book, bought twenty copies and gave to everyone in our extended families. My father was one of the first to read the book, which I knew from his newly enlightened demeanor.

Babies With Down Syndrome: A New Parent's Guide (The Special-Needs Collection)

As young parents we were always reminded to read to our children. "Where's Chimpy" was Alex's favorite. My goal was to have the words "down syndrome" become part of our language. This book was enjoyable to Alex and I could talk about the little girl with down syndrome while reading it to her.

Where's Chimpy (Albert Whitman Concept Paperbacks)

This is the book Alex and I read to her first and second grade classes. We used a "q and a" format which was very helpful in helping the children understand Alex was just like them, only a little different:

Our Brother Has Down's Syndrome

When Alex began school I found the following book, which I purchased for her teachers. I know at least some of her teachers' read these books as we discussed the strategies around learning in some of her early team meetings:

Teaching Reading to Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Teachers (Topics in Down Syndrome)

When I was looking on Amazon for the links to these books - I also found the following:

Communication Skills in Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents (Topics in Down Syndrome)

Teaching Math to People With Down Syndrome and Other Hands-On Learners: Basic Survival Skills (Topics in Down Syndrome) Book 1 (Bk.1)

Gross Motor Skills in Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (Topics in Down Syndrome)

Fine Motor Skills for Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents And Professionals (Topics in Down Syndrome)

I also enjoyed a couple of inspirational books. I know there are now many more available, I really should update my library.

Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic

Count Us In: Growing Up with Down Syndrome (A Harvest Book)

And, finally the book I am going to buy next:

The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook: A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles


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