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The long road to inclusion

CHILDREN WITH DOWN'S SYNDROME: A Guide for Teachers and Support Assistants in Mainstream Schools.By Stephanie Lorenz.David Fulton 12.99.

As an advocate of inclusion of children with Down's syndrome in mainstream schools, Stephanie Lorenz's practical book will help teachers and assistants understand these children's learning styles, strengths and difficulties. She encourages realistic expectations which can be achieved with the national curriculum - backed up by recent research into this relatively new field.

The book sets out the genetic background and common characteristics of Down's syndrome, but emphasises the individuality of children needing to become independent in the classroom. Models of support give examples of a balanced diet of activities, some of which the child can tackle alone, some with assistance and some with individual teaching. Teachers are given confidence to direct planning, working co-operatively with the support assistant.

Practical teaching tips and ideas for behaviour management are central to the book. Final case studies describe families with varied experiences of mainstream and special placements, suggesting that the road to inclusion is not yet a straightforward path. Much depends on training, provision and attitude.

Bridget Evetts is special needs officer (advisory and monitoring) for West Sussex

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