Down Syndrome Resources
Over the past 14 years, The Learning Program has grown to include a wide range of services, materials, and resources for family and educators of learners with Down syndrome. We have gathered the various resources on this page for your convenience.
Learning Program Online
Learning Program Online (LP Online™) is our online educational community and utilizes online webinars to replicate our face-to-face program. Through LP Online™, we are able to extend access to families who work or do not have Learning Program Partners in close proximity. Teachers participate in LP Online also. Participants are able to join live sessions in real time or view recorded learning sessions at their convenience. LP Online™ serves families from as close as Orange County, California to as far away as Malaysia.
Available On-Site in Orange County, California
LP Orange County
Learning Program Orange County (LP OC) involves six levels of classroom programming for parents and their children. The LP OC is delivered through our Irvine office and runs from September through June each year. The goal of LP OC is to empower parents as advocates for their children and improve academic outcomes. LP OC complements formal instruction in literacy and math, and includes occupational and speech therapy components.
LP Community Classroom
Learning Program Community Classroom (LP Community Classroom™) is our way of sharing information and resources with our community. Sessions are face-to-face and offered either during regular LP OC sessions or as stand-alone seminars. Through LP Community classroom™, we are able to support families and professionals in our extended community who are interested in specific Learning Program topics, but cannot commit to the full 10 month program.
LP After School Academy
Learning Program After-School Enrichment (LP After School Academy™) is a two hour after school program intended to provide additional academic intervention and social skill building to students in third grade through high school. Staffed with credentialed teachers supported by interns and volunteers, the program enables us to provide additional hands-on support to students. Students do not have to participate in LP OC to join.
Learning Program's Teen Time (Teen Time) expands opportunities for teens and young adults ages 13-22, for whom few targeted programs exist. Leveraging Learning Program resources and connections, Teen Time focuses on social skill and relationship building.
LP Program National
Learning Program National (LP National) is our broader resource for parents and teachers through which we provide instructional handouts on best practices for effective education and free-access learning materials. Through this program we serve over 8,700 parents and professionals and help equip them to work more efficiently with students who have Down syndrome or other students with visual learning strengths.
Learning Program Partners (LP Partners) is the program through which we share educational information, strategies and resources with other Down syndrome groups so they can deliver Learning Programs in their own areas. Families and educators can view local Down Syndrome resources here. Potential partners can learn more about partnership here.
Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County
18023 Sky Park Circle, Suite F
Irvine, CA 92614
1. Determine Best Learning Environment for Your Child
When you begin this program, determine whether your child requires a structured learning area (for example, the kitchen table or desk) or whether your child needs more flexibility (such as a portable TV tray or lap tray). Some children may need to work in one or two areas that they associate with learning, particularly in the beginning of the program. Others may not sit still and may do better if you begin working with them wherever they happen to be playing. Your ultimate goal is to have your child learn in a structured learning area, because that is what is expected in school. If you are having trouble getting started, you might want to try using program materials after a meal or snack, while your child is still seated. Alternatively, you could offer a snack and then bring out the materials while your child is “held captive” by the snack. Your first priority is to get your child working. Try different settings and figure out what works best for your child.
2. Be Flexible and Creative
Whatever the setting for your learning session, be creative. Don’t always bring out materials in the same order or do the same tasks. Some of the best learning occurs when children are unaware they are learning (spontaneous teachable moments). You might offer to play school with your child using program materials and let your child be the teacher. You can also involve some of your child’s favorite stuffed animals or action figures in the session. Have your child read to a “friend” or have the “friend” read. Siblings also make for great props: some children love “showing off” for a sibling, and siblings benefit from being involved in the learning process. Flexibility and creativity will enhance your child’s learning time. So, use your imagination and have fun.
3. Know When to Stop
There will be times when your child is not receptive to learning (i.e., tired, sick, hungry). If you meet real resistance before you start, skip that time and find time later in the day or the next day. Alternatively, there will be days when your child will work for a while and become disinterested. If this happens remain in control. Try once or twice to engage him, saying “Let’s do one more page” or “We will be done after this one problem.” But if your child won’t engage, announce “Okay, I’m done for the day. You may go play.” Whatever your approach, use your child’s behavior as a guide and remain in control of when the session ends. You don’t want to become involved in a power struggle over working on program materials . . . because you will always lose!
4. It Works if You Work It
This program is intended to supplement your child’s formal education by providing you with direct instruction on use of program materials and by providing targeted materials designed to maximize your child’s ability to learn. But this program will not work unless you work with your child. Whether you target twice a week or five times a week, you are a busy parent with responsibilities that will interfere with program time on occasion. But, materials put in the corner each month and brought out only on rare occasions will not have much impact on your child. So, without letting guilt get in the way, put materials where you will “trip” over them. Integrate program time into your lifestyle (calendar program time, parking lot time while waiting for siblings or do program while siblings do homework). Whatever your method, find a way to integrate program time into your day, make good use of the materials, and have some structured fun with your child. Work it . . . and it will work.
5. We Are Here to Help
Remember to call upon us for assistance. We are here to support you in your teaching efforts. Feel free to share educational celebrations and challenges.
Not sure where to start?
Tell our staff about your learner's current capabilities and growth areas, and we will recommend the perfect resources and courses to help them shine!