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Leadership Studio '15 - Team 12

Leadership Studio '15 - Team 12

Leadership Studio '15 - Team 12 in DFA Leadership Studio 2015

Team

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KeeAnna Turner

Talent Toss is an interactive ball game that allows people with Down Syndrome, their parents, and educators, to share their emotions, challenges, and successes with each other in order to foster increased community understanding and inclusion.

Team 12 focused on enhancing the experience of students with Down Syndrome in the classroom. We asked: “How can we increase inclusion by fostering parent-student-teacher communication?” Interviews with caretakers, family members, and people with Down Syndrome revealed that those with Down Syndrome are ready and willing to learn. Yet what often holds them back is not so much any cognitive disabilities but parent or teacher lack of faith in their abilities. From one interviewee, the mother of a daughter with Down Syndrome, we learned of the importance of parent championship. She wrote: “I also had to fight pretty hard for [my daughter] in elementary school for actual content like reading and spelling and handwriting. They said they didn't teach those things and she wouldn't really be able to do them, but I persisted.” With this in mind, we created Talent Toss, a soft fuzzy ball that houses several cards, each with the beginnings of a positive phrase. Players toss the ball to each other, draw a card, and complete the phrase. For example, “I can….play the piano!” The game requires players to think back on the strengths and skills they already have, and to share them with the other players. Students gain confidence from reflecting on what they already know and teachers are inspired to consider that these students do have the ability learn and grow! Later, the phrases are publicly displayed for continued . In the short term, this game aspires to see more students with Down Syndrome participating more frequently in mainstream classes. In the long term, these students will gain invaluable skills they can take with them into the future, as will non-special needs students benefit from exposure to all they have to offer. By fostering this inclusive and positive environment, Talent Toss is another step towards creating a world where the talents of special-needs students are fully realized.

3 years ago ·

KeeAnna Turner

Talent Toss is an interactive ball game that allows those affected by Down Syndrome, their parents, and their educators to share their emotions, thoughts, and successes with each other in order to foster increased community participation.

3 years ago ·

KeeAnna Turner

Email from interviewee!

Hi Group,

Here's the answers to the second round of questions.

1. You talked about one teacher founding a comparable book. What other
signals gave you confidence that the teacher was engaged in Marisa's
education?
--I was so pleased with that class that I volunteered once a week in the
class. I got to know the other kids and the teacher much better as I was
usually put in a group without Marisa. This teacher would come to the IEP
meetings for Marisa and often engage in conversations with her special ed
teacher.

2. As a member of the educational field, what is your opinion on teacher's
access to resources? What kind of assistance do teachers automatically
receive? Did they have to seek training/resources on their own?
--As a preschool teacher we did not receive any kind of assistance
automatically.When I had a few children with various challenges I went out
and found books and went to workshops because I couldn't really do my job
unless I understood their challenges. I really don't know about the public
schools. I know that the teachers I really admired for Marisa were not
afraid to ask questions of me or her special ed team.

3. How accessible are Down Syndrome related resources for teachers?
--I don't have the answer to this one.

4. You mentioned how you often had to push for teachers to gain confidence
in Marisa's ability to learn. What techniques did you develop for achieving
this?
--There were a lot of meetings! I would bring samples of the things she was
doing at home to prove I wasn't making things up. The best thing I could do
was to have specific tasks and goals written into her IEP. There's no getting
around it then, if it's written there then it has to be done.

Good luck on your project. Let me know if you need any further
clarification.

Mary-Ellen

3 years ago ·

KeeAnna Turner

Email from interviewee (mother of adult daughter with DS):

I'm more than happy to answer your questions. You should know that it's been
a while since Marisa has been in the public school system, she is now 34,
and from what I can see some things seem to be a little better at least here
in Corvallis. If you want to get in touch with Marisa her email is <br>marisa_annereboa@hotmail.com . She is quite computer savvy however her
writing can be rambling but shes been in a lot of studies and is always
happy to help out college students. (She has worked in an OSU dining hall
since she graduated the wings program)

1. What is your background and experience with education, especially in
relation to Down Syndrome?
-- I have been in the field of early childhood education for about 35 years.
I have done home child care(that's how I met your mom) and I have taught in
preschool and daycare settings.I retired 4 years ago. I did not have any
children with Down Syndrome in my classes but I did have a young woman with
Down Syndrome who was part of the wings program helping in my preschool
class about 6 years ago. Any experience I have had in the educational system
with Down Syndrome was as a parent.

2. What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier?
--Not to worry so much!

3. How did the education system succeed? What went right and why did it
work?
--The education system works when there are very dedicated and interested
teachers. Marisa was at the forefront of mainstreaming. There was a woman
who would come to her preschool in California to help her and the teachers.
It was wonderful, unfortunately it only lasted for one year because the
grant ran out and did not get renewed. When we moved here to Corvallis
Marisa was in middle school and the head teacher in that class was amazing.
We were able to mainstream her into PE, choir and part of the day with a
seventh grade class. Her seventh grade teacher was so good that when she
would assign a book for her class to read and do a project on she would call
the librarian at Jefferson school and they would find a book that had a
similar theme and we would read it together. Those teachers that took the
time to change a lesson plan and make things just a little more accessible
make all the difference in the world.

4. Can you describe one or more the hurdles you encounter(ed)? It can be big
or small, just something you feel is important. We'd like to hear about gaps
in existing education systems and practices that need improvement.
--The teachers who clump the special needs students in the back of the room
and do nothing for them are a huge problem. When Marisa was in elementary
school I actually pulled her out of a mainstreaming situation when I saw what was happening. I also had to fight pretty hard for her in elementary school for actual
content like reading and spelling and handwriting. They said they didn't
teach those things and she wouldn't really be able to do them, but I
persisted. She was already sounding out words at home and writing. She has
very functional reading skills and does know how to write and spell but I
really had to fight for it. I hope that has changed by now. While I realize
that every child in a special education setting won't be able to do these
things you need provide it for the kids who can. When Marisa was in school I
don't think most of the kids in school had been exposed to many of the kids
with special needs but things I see in the paper now seem to indicate that
there is more integration for them.It's really important for them to feel
like part of the school.We tried to make sure that Marisa did a lot of those
high school things, like prom, football and basketball games, and the all
night party. She was lucky to have a few really nice kids who looked out for
her and hung out with her.

5. Is there anything else you want people working on this topic to know from
the start?
--I think that we don't have enough resources for the regular ed teachers
to mainstream kids effectively. As a teacher I had several autistic children
in my class and a few with various sensory disorders. I had never had any
training in any of this and was not offered any resources to help me. I
would imagine a lot of teachers are in the same position. The center I was
at said they were all inclusive, so they would put a special needs child in
your class with no extra help. At three these kids often take all your
attention which would leave the other teacher with 15 children to watch.
Helping the regular ed teachers to support and understand these kids is
really critical to their success in a mainstreamed classroom.

I hope some of this makes sense and helps a bit. If you have anything else
you want to know feel free to get in touch.

Regards,

Mary-Ellen

3 years ago ·

KeeAnna Turner

Hello all,

I just confirmed a user who would like to talk to us through email. She has a background in education as well as having an adult daughter with Down syndrome. Both are willing to answer questions! I'll start thinking of questions (please feel free to chip in with any you would like me to include) and getting a conversation going with her tonight/tomorrow.

3 years ago ·

Izabela Correa - Hi KeeAnna!!!! Great news! Thanks a lot! I haven't received any answer form my contacts.

3 years ago

KeeAnna Turner - Okay, so I take it we don't have anyone to contact during the hour on Friday? I just learned about a bakery in my old hometown that specifically employs people with "intellectual and developmental disabilities". Doesn't look like they're specifically for Downs but I'm sure they've dealt with it and could talk about how they alter their training program. I'll call and ask for an phone interview Friday. Its 11am to noon Pacific time right?

3 years ago

Izabela Correa - I think we don't have. Yes, it is Friday, August 7th, 11am-12pm. Thank you a lot

3 years ago

Ramzy Saoud - Thanks so much for setting that up! I really appreciate it. I hope you all got the notes I sent as well. Safe flights/travel and see you all tomorrow!

3 years ago

KeeAnna Turner - Well it's too early to celebrate--I left a message with a support services manager and will have to call again for the bakery manager tomorrow. Which notes are these? I've seen the Secondary Research under the above files tab.

3 years ago

Izabela Correa

Quick Update

1) What have we accomplished in the last weeks?
Our team has been working on the secondary research over the last weeks. We decided to focus our research on the education challenges. We aim to answer the following question: How we can we enhance education for those with Down syndrome? We have not decided on which user we will focus yet. We are analyzing the education challenges for the different users; person with Down syndrome, Educators and Family members. On the Files tab, you can find a file with the results of our research so far.
We also contacted potential interviewees (person with Down syndrome and family). However, we haven’t heard back from them yet.

2) What do we want to accomplish in the next weeks?
On the next weeks, we aim to have at least one interview scheduled for the DFA Leadership Studio. We will probably try to reach more potential interviewees and reinforce the contacts made. Furthermore, we will continue working on our secondary research. We are planning to develop the questions we want to ask the stakeholders to clarify our assumptions and get more information.

3) What obstacles are in the way of achieving our goals?
Our team has faced some communication issues what caused some delays. However, we believe this problem will be solved using email as the main communication tool instead of Loft. Most of the team members access their emails daily what will make communication easier and faster.

3 years ago ·

Izabela Correa

Hi Guys! About tomorrow, can someone participate in the call?

3 years ago ·

Ramzy Saoud - Hey! I will be there - I RSVP'd. Also, we need to schedule an interview with someone affected (directly or through another person) by Down Syndrome in Chicago during the LS 2015 time.
Any thoughts?

3 years ago

Izabela Correa - Great! Thank you very much! :) I am going to send a email soon about the research.

3 years ago

Izabela Correa

Hello Guys! I hope everyone is having a great summer. I am not sure if everyone saw the email that we received, but at least one person from our team should be in the call next THURSDAY 7/23/2015 | 9pm ET / 8pm CT / 6pm PT to share updates and ask any logistical questions about the upcoming event.

I will be traveling and I am not sure if I will have a good Internet connection. So, will someone be available to participate?

Besides that, as i said before, I think we should start our discussions. What do you think about schedule a call or exchange emails?!

3 years ago ·

Ramzy Saoud - My email is rsaoud@ucsd.edu.
Feel free to contact me through there. Often times it's easier and quicker than using Loft.

3 years ago

Ramzy Saoud

Hey all! I'm Ramzy, and I'm studying Bioengineering at UCSD. DFA at UCSD is brand new, as we just completed the application process, and we're excited to bring all of the good things DFA has to offer to San Diego. I love photography, eating, and playing and making music, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you all at LS15. Out project is about Down Syndrome, so lets get cracking! Any thoughts/ideas/concerns?

3 years ago ·

Ramzy Saoud joined the project

3 years ago ·

Izabela Correa

Hello Guys! I think we should start our discussions. We have to decided the focus of our project by July, 10th. So, does anyone have any preference or suggestion? We could also schedule a call or discuss through email, if you prefer. My email is ilc235@nyu.edu and my skype is izabelacorrea.

3 years ago ·

KeeAnna Turner joined the project

3 years ago ·

Sharon Park joined the project

3 years ago ·

Sharon Park - Hello Everyone! Sort of going off of Izabela's introduction, I'm Sharon and I'm an undergrad studying Economics and Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. I've been in DFA for only a semester, but I'm excited to learn and be apart of the human-centered design process. I like drawing, eating new foods, and watching shows/movies with friends. I'm looking forward to this new and exciting experience with everyone here. :)

3 years ago

Izabela Correa

Hello Everyone! Nice to "meet" you. A quick introduction... My name is Izabela. I am a grad student in Management of Technology at NYU. I am interested in human-centered design, innovation and entrepreneurship. I love traveling, cooking, and meeting people. I am looking forward to working with you! :)

3 years ago ·

Izabela Correa joined the project

3 years ago ·

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