The high school experience of a learner with Down syndrome: a case study
The inclusion policy which is currently being implemented according to White Paper 6 (July 2001) has raised many questions and debates. In South Africa at the moment there is a focus on the implementation of inclusion policies in primary schools. Although many studies have been conducted on Down syndrome, there seems to have been little focus on the adolescent. Specifically their experiences in the high school context appear to have received little attention. This paper focused on the experiences of an adolescent with Down syndrome who has been mainstreamed into a high school. The experiences are discussed within identified indicators of quality of life namely; peer relationships, experiences of academic, general school and extra-mural activities. In addition the effects of Down syndrome on areas such as adolescence, inclusion strategies, behaviour and social skills are also investigated. The findings of this paper were that of adolescents with Down syndrome can be successfully mainstreamed if their individual needs are catered for. These needs include opportunities to spend time with learners with the same abilities as their own. Satisfaction was experienced by the participant and her parents regarding her academic placement and scholastic achievements. A factor that played a role in her successful placement was the supportive environment she was in. Although satisfaction was experienced with regards to the process of inclusion there were parental concerns regarding her future independence.