Monday, August 12, 2013

Breakthrough prompts Down syndrome soul-searching

Could it be a 'cure'? Breakthrough prompts Down syndrome soul-searching

In the 14 years since her daughter, Rachel, was born with Down syndrome, Jawanda Mast has always been clear that she’d change the condition if she could.

“I couldn’t love her more, but I would give almost anything to take away that extra chromosome,” the Olathe, Kansas, mom wrote on her blog. “While I may know she’s perfect, the world doesn’t.”

But when Massachusetts scientists announced recently that they’ve found a way to silence the chromosome that causes trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, it rocked Mast – and the rest of the disability community.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Motivated By Music

Since the fifth grade, Kevin Riffle has had a perpetual love for music.
A member of Medina Middle School’s band, Riffle plays percussion sometimes on the bells, snare drum or the cymbals. He will start the eighth grade next month.
“He learned to play the recorder in the fifth grade and he earned all of his belts,” said Debbie Riffle, his mother. Students earn credits, or “belts,” as they master different instruments and music in class.

Riffle said her son has Down syndrome and splits his school day in a regular education and special education class.

“Band and science are his favorites,” she said. “He loves music so much that we decorated his bedroom in a rock ‘n’ roll theme using the Beatles.”'

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Woman With Down Syndrome Prevails In Guardianship Dispute

Woman With Down Syndrome Prevails In Guardianship Dispute

By Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop | August 5, 2013

In a closely-watched case centering on the rights of adults with disabilities, a Virginia woman has won the right to live with her friends rather than in a group home as her parents preferred.
Margaret “Jenny” Hatch, 29, who has Down syndrome, has been fighting for a year to live with her friends, Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris. Hatch previously lived with the couple, but more recently she has been living in a series of group homes against her wishes while under the temporary guardianship of her mother and stepfather.

You can read more here: 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

TN education chief sharpens focus on special ed

As beleaguered Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman deflects public outcry over changes to teacher policies, he is already eyeing his next reform target: special education.
Huffman, who recently faced calls for his firing after changes to the state’s decades-old teacher pay plan, probably will face outrage again next week when revisions to the teacher licensing process are expected to be approved.
Even so, he is moving ahead with plans he hopes will make Tennessee the state with the fastest-improving schools by 2015, and special education is next on his list.
“Special education is a huge focus in Tennessee,” Huffman told The Tennessean editorial board and reporters Wednesday.