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Programs For Educators

The DSAWM offers a wide variety of programs to meet the needs of families and educational professionals. Our goal is to help provide teachers, administrators, and ancillary staff with the tools they may require to meet the learning needs of the students with Down syndrome.

Educational Material

Teacher Information Packet 

The Teacher Information Packet contains an assortment of information intended to assist each classroom teacher in (1) getting to know his or her student with Down syndrome, and (2) building a comfortable, effective learning environment for every student.  The material addresses a wide range of subjects, from subject adaptation, student supports and social inclusion, to a “Getting to Know Me” section for children to complete (with help from parents/caregivers as needed).

The Teacher Information Packet is compiled by the DSAWM and reviewed each summer before being distributed. It is provided by request to DSAWM members and local educators - free of charge - each fall.  Select portions may also be downloaded below.

Lending Library

Our resource library contains many books relevant to educating children with Down syndrome. Books will be shipped free of charge to your home or school. Visit our Lending Libraryand check out a title today.

Workshops and Conferences

Annually, the DSAWM hosts a conference to discuss current topics on Down syndrome. Topics may include education, health, child development, family matters, estate planning and other relevant information. Evening workshops are held throughout the year on more in-depth topics. Click here to learn about upcoming workshop and conferences.

Speaker's Bureau

The DSAWM is ready to help educate your students on the topic of Down syndrome. Our Speakers' Bureau can identify the perfect presenter for your group including the parent of a child with Down syndrome who can share their parenting experience, or a young adult with Down syndrome who can share the joys, accomplishments and challenges of living with a disability.

Our presenters are available to speak to any age group from elementary school thorough university students. We can tailor the length to suit your needs and the size of your audience whether it be 5 or 200.

We find that students benefit from learning that people with Down syndrome are much more alike their peers than they are different. They have the same like and dislikes, hobbies and dreams for the future.

Many elementary schools incorporate our speakers as part of an Everybody Counts Program which promotes sensitivity to children with disabilities. At the high school level we are often asked to help increase students understanding of Down syndrome as part of their health, family life or early childhood education classes. Many university programs request our speakers in their physical and occupational programs and teacher or nursing education.

For more information please contact the Association at 616-956-3488 or

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning helps ALL students have full access to curriculum. In today’s dynamic, diverse classrooms, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) offers all educators and students an exciting opportunity to use strategies and technologies that bridge the gap in learner skills, interests, and needs. By accommodating students’ different learning styles, UDL is able to transform instruction into a more engaging, meaningful experience.

The UDL Guidelines are organized according to the three main principles of UDL that address representation, expression, and engagement.  Click on the links below for examples of practical suggestions.

I.  Provide Multiple Means of Representation  II.  Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression  III.  Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

Language, expressions, and symbols

Physical action
Expression and communication
Executive function

Recruiting interest
Sustaining effort and persistent

From National Center on Universal Design for Learning

Everyone Counts Program – Teaching Acceptance and Inclusion

This program, developed by the National Down Syndrome Society, educates student in grades K-6 about diversity, acceptance and inclusion of children with Down syndrome and other cognitive disabilities. When children are taught these lessons in elementary school, the result will be a more inclusive school environment and ultimately a more accepting and inclusive community. The program includes lesson plans and activities for grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-6. It includes videos, conversation guides, posters, inclusion brochure, teacher guidelines and resource list.

To borrow the Everyone Counts Program please contact us at 616-956-3488.

The Learning Program

The Learning Program, based in Orange County CA, is designed to supplement traditional education in literacy and math. Despite some wonderful teachers, traditional education too often fails children with Down syndrome due to poor educational placement, lack of trained assistants and outdated stereotypes. This program aims to strengthen the educational potential for children with Down syndrome, irrespective of their formal educational setting. Parents and teachers can access informational guides, download materials and follow links to reliable information about best practices for instruction.

Visit the Learning Program website


The following are designed to assist the IEP team in developing a tailored Individualized Education Plan based on appropriate grade level content, goals and accommodations.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

♦ Aligning IEPs to Academic Standards - For students with moderate and severe disabilities.
K-8 Grade Level Content Expectations - Documents are for educators who need access to multiple grade levels and for parents looking for guides to help explain the GLCEs.
 Bridges 4 Kids IEP Goals and Objectives Bank - Designed to allow users to locate specific educational goals.
IEP Accommodation Checklist
♦ Sample Academic Goals (pdf)
♦ Sample Academic Goals (word)

Preparing for your Student's IEP (Presentation) - Thoughts from the Educator's Perspective

Extended School Year (ESY)

What is Extended School Year (ESY)? (Presentation)
Standards for Extended School Year (ESY) Services in Michigan

The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan is an affiliate of:
National Down Syndrome CongressDown Syndrome Affiliates in Action