Becoming a Down Syndrome Education Specialist

Robyn Rogers talks about her experience as a graduate of our Down Syndrome Education Specialist program

In May, 2012 I took a huge leap and retired as an ECH teacher after 35 years.  I loved teaching, however, it was time for a change and I was excited to embark on a new career challenge as an educational consultant.  In this position, I wear many hats: as a teacher mentor, staff trainer, inclusion facilitator, parent liaison, homebound instructor and now a Down Syndrome Education Specialist for a three-county special education district in southern Illinois.

I was both anxious and a little apprehensive about making the commitment to spend four days in trainings to become a Down Syndrome Education Specialist through the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, but after the first session my co-worker and I knew that making the two-and-a-half hour trip to St. Louis was going to be well worth it.

The organizers were friendly and welcoming, the facility was easy to find, the speakers at every training were engaging and shared useful information, the handouts will serve as a great source of reference and, of course, the lunches we were provided were delicious!

As a teacher mentor and staff trainer, I am able to share my knowledge concerning the learning needs of students with Down syndrome with new teachers and will also be conducting some mini-workshops for teachers this summer.  As I work as an inclusion facilitator, the information I gained through the Down Syndrome Education Specialist program regarding inclusion and social opportunities and curriculum modifications/adaptations has been very helpful.  And as a homebound instructor of a student with challenging behaviors, I have referred to my handouts from the Behavior Solutions training several times.

During my 35 years as a teacher, I attended many workshops but I definitely feel that these trainings were among the best!  Because I was so impressed, I have already shared the information about the upcoming Down Syndrome Education Specialist program with my supervisor and I am encouraging my school district to send additional staff to take advantage of this great learning opportunity.

Thank you to the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis for continuing to provide support to teachers of students with Down syndrome and their families through this ongoing program.

(If you want to be part of the program in 2013-2014, complete and return the application here.)

Robyn Rogers, Educational Consultant
Tri-County Special Education District
2012-2013 DSES Program Graduate
Murphysboro, IL