Question about a Down Syndrome child

The boldface quotes are from an e-mail I received in June, 2009. My responses are indented.

Do you think I'm going against the unschooling philosophy by enrolling him in this structured program? I'm kind of an all or nothing person so I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. Do you have any suggestions?
It's not the enrollment that will be a problem, but your attitude and the extent to which you allow the program to dictate your relationship with your son.
In the not too distant future they will have us teach him to read (whole language works well with Downs kids). They have done wonderful things for kids like my son helping them to reach new heights.
Maybe you could play it by ear as you get there, or if you DO come to a place where you feel it's too great a departure from your beliefs, maybe you could tell the therapists/counsellors (whatever they call your interface guys) that you're unwilling to do their program 100%, but that you will use it in a adapted way. If you let them know you're going to do something different for well-considered reasons, that won't be the same as a family that just was too lazy or uninterested to do the exercises.

Instead of making one huge decision now, consider it a series of thousands of small, mindful decisions to come.


Some of the ideas in there might help. Not the attendance, but the choice of being your child's partner over being the program's partner (or lackey).

I don't know if you had found this yet. It might have something that would help your decisionmaking, or it might be altogether worthless. No guarantees on this website! :-)

The original questioner responded:

Hi Sandra,

Thank you very much for your quick response. Those of us unschooling appreciate your help. I like how you wrote that I need to be my child's partner not the program's partner. I will listen to my child and my heart each step of the way.

Being your Child's Partner On whether an autistic child must be "programmed" Help for New Unschoolers