Ages & Stages

3 to 5


Education Resources

Navigating the time when your loved one enters the educational system can be a trying time. The NDSC prides itself on providing family members the best and most accurate information when it comes to education and IEPS.

A child with Down syndrome has unique educational needs to be addressed. The efforts of the NDSC, together with the larger disabilities community, have made great strides toward securing quality education for all people with cognitive disabilities. Increasingly, school systems are adopting the processes and teaching resources that children with Down syndrome need to succeed alongside their classmates.


Where do I start when it comes to my child’s education?

Evaluations and the information contained in them form the basis for writing a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs help the IEP team decide what the child’s educational program should be. Often times, parents are dissatisfied with the school district’s evaluation and opt to have an independent educational evaluation (IEE) conducted. Other times, parents obtain an independent educational evaluation on their own initiative instead of waiting for and relying upon a school district evaluation. Your child is eligible to start talking about an IEP at midnight on their 3rd birthday.

         Need more information? Check out our Education Resources Packet.             Education Resources Packet 

You can also check out Accommodations & Modifications presented by Julie Harmon through our Center for Outreach and Education Parent archived webinars. Presented by Julie Harmon, Inclusion Coordinator at University of Colorado Colorado Springs (and NDSC Board member).  This webinar explores how the use of accommodations and modifications can be key to meaningful participation in the general education classroom for students with disabilities.

View recording on Accommodations & Modifications
Presentation Slides on Accommodations & Modifications
Other resources

Caregivers that are interested in inclusion classroom settings can check out, Include Me!-Presented by Gerin Martin, Ed.D, this webinar is for parents of children with developmental disabilities, aged 2-5. Inclusion, at any level, is an art in partnerships. Learn what high-quality inclusion in an early childhood classroom should look like and how to partner with the early childhood professionals working with your child, in order to carry over skills at home.

View recording on Inclusion

Potty Training

What is normal when it comes to potty training? 

Potty training a child can come at different types just like every other child. You know your child as well as anyone else, so find what works best for you. Like their typically developing peers, children with Down syndrome have a broad range of abilities. Most will achieve their developmental milestones but on their own trajectory and time frame. Most children with Down syndrome are able to toilet train and can successfully complete this very important developmental milestone.

When should I start potty training? 

There are a series of readiness that your child needs to be before you start potty training.

According to Potty Time For Kids With Down Syndrome, this includes:

  • The ability to walk( so they can walk to the bathroom on their own)
  • Urinating a fair amount at once or having “dry periods.”
  • Having the fine motor skills to be able to dress and undress themselves
  • Being able to sit in one place for a period of time
  • Disliking the feelings of a wet or dirty diaper
  • Having a way to communicate the need to go

In collaboration with Children’s Hospital Of Pitsburg, NDSC’s past president, Dr. Kishore Vellody, discusses assessing for toilet training readiness and general concepts of toilet training. Toilet Training Part 1 and Toilet Training Part 2.

NDSC board member Dr. Nicole Baumer, Sherry Tsai, CPNP, and Boston Children’s Hospital Down Syndrome Program help explain the best tactics to making potty training successful. Toilet-training-guide

Feeding Challenges

What are some feeding challenges related to children with Down syndrome? 

Working a child with a feeding disorder is a challenging but rewarding task. The end goal of treatment should always be a safe, happy, and healthy eater“. – April Anderson, MA, CCC-SLP

Metabolism is 10-15% “slower” in individuals with Down syndrome compared to peers of the same height, weight, age, gender, so it is important to be aware of their diets.

Individuals with Down syndrome can encounter challenges with it comes too:

  • Mineral Deficiency or Excess (i.e., calcium, iron)
  • Macronutrient Deficiency (i.e., fiber, water)
  • Excess (or Inadequate) Energy Intake for current activity/stress level
  • Co-occurring Gastrointestinal or Autoimmune Conditions
  • Feeding Difficulties

If you are struggling with any of these issues, you should consult a Registered Dietitian in your home state. Make sure to communicate your expectations and goals for a visit ahead of time to ensure your time can be used effectively and efficiently. Share a diet and drink log but also share medical records and the timing of when you give medications.

Mass General Children’s Hospital provides information on Healthy Eating Tips for Toddlers with Down Syndrome.

Broccoli Boot Camp is a comprehensive guide for parents of children who are selective or “picky” eaters and can be used with children with or without special needs (e.g, autism or Down syndrome). It presents commonsense behavioral interventions to successfully expand children’s diet variety and preferences for healthy foods.

Speech and Language Resources

Children with Down syndrome typically have a delay in language acquisition and vocalization. They may not begin to speak until they are between 24 to 36 months old, and some children even later. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) should evaluate your child and develop a treatment plan for addressing his communication needs.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) should evaluate your child and develop a treatment plan for addressing his communication needs. This can be in a clinical setting or school setting. Some children will benefit from Your child will likely benefit from using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, which is talked about in both Julie Harmon’s webinar above, and our education resources packet.

It is best that you continue to work with your child. You can find online resources that can help with your child’s speech and language development.