GN Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

GN Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day
Posted on 05/30/2018

Students and staff at Great Neck Elementary School celebrated World Down Syndrome Day 2018. Students participated in various activities throughout the day to bring awareness to what Down Syndrome is, to celebrate the uniqueness of all individuals, and also show how we all are similar and have the need to be included.  All 370+ students colored a sock in their own special way, which were hung on the walls leading to the cafeteria.  Students and staff were encouraged to wear mismatched, brightly colored socks to celebrate this event. 

Mrs. Stephanie Wertz, a parent of a student at Great Neck, collaborated with the special education team to make this a successful event. Mrs. Wertz also was a guest reader to the preschool, kindergarten, and first grade classes, sharing various books about Down Syndrome.  Students enjoyed asking her questions and listening to her knowledge of Down Syndrome.  Students in second through fifth grade watched several selected videos to teach about the syndrome, as well as how to accept and include all students who may have some challenges.  They were then asked to complete a written component to share any new understanding and knowledge they gained.  Additionally, Mrs. Wertz facilitated activities to help a first grade class understand some of the challenges that students with Down Syndrome face.  Some children wore socks on their hands and were asked to write their name to mimic the fine motor difficulties these students face.  Other students put marshmallows in their mouth and were asked to speak to raise awareness of the articulation difficulties of students with Down Syndrome.

This day and the “Lots of Socks” campaign is recognized around the globe to raise awareness of what Down Syndrome is, what it means to have Down Syndrome, and how people with Down Syndrome are integral parts of our schools and communities.  The significant date of 3/21 symbolizes the triplication of the 21st chromosome, which causes Down Syndrome.

To continue growing this event in Waterford, Great Neck Special Education Teacher, Melanie Wettlaufer, applied for a grant from the Fund for Teachers Fellowship Grant  to attend the World Down Syndrome Congress in Scotland this summer.   Ms. Wettlaufer is excited to attend this conference, to learn how to better provide services for children with Down Syndrome, and to continue to improve acceptance of all within our community.  

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