June 27, 2017

The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, is pleased to announce the establishment of its new NDSS National Inclusive Education Task Force.

NDSS President Sara Hart Weir remarked that “The NDSS National Inclusive Education Task Force will support NDSS in its overarching efforts to create more inclusive educational environments for all students with Down syndrome all while ensuring our students are graduating with employment opportunities in a more inclusive workforce and world.”

This new NDSS Inclusive Education Task Force will have four overarching components:

  • Launch of a new Public Awareness Campaign – #InclusiveEDworksfor Students with Down Syndrome
    ● Establishment of an NDSS repository of leading inclusive IEP best practices for all students with Down syndrome
    ● In-house inclusive IEP coaching and technical assistance from NDSS staff in-person and by phone
    ● Advise NDSS’ National Advocacy & Public Policy Center on federal and state educational legislative priorities and support the goals of NDSS’ #DSWORKS® Campaign – the first-ever employment campaign for the Down syndrome community showing the world people with Down syndrome are ready, willing and ABLE to work

Our NDSS National Inclusive Education Task Force includes a robust, diverse membership of self-advocates, parents, educators, administrators and academics. The taskforce will be co-chaired by Ashley Barlow, JD from Ft. Thomas, Kentucky and David Egan from Vienna, Virginia. NDSS’ Taishoff Inclusive Education Fellow, Sara Jo Soldovieri will serve as the NDSS staff liaison.

In addition to the overarching components of the new NDSS’ National Inclusive Education Task Force and our inclusive IEP coaching assistance, our Task Force has set a goal of 50 new inclusive IEP’s during the 2017-2018 school year.

“As a special education attorney and the mom to a school-aged child with Down syndrome, I am thrilled about the creation of this important Task Force and look forward to helping improve the inclusive educational opportunities available for children with Down syndrome.” Barlow said.

Ashley Barlow, JD, Lawyer with an emphasis on family and special education law at Meier and Barlow Law Firm (Ft. Thomas, Kentucky)

David Egan, Self-Advocate, Booz Allen Hamilton Clerk, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Fellow, Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action, Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia, NDSS DS-Ambassador (Vienna, Virginia)

Sue Buckley, PhD, Down Syndrome Education International, Down Syndrome Education USA (United Kingdom)
Kathleen Egan, PhD, NDSS DS-Ambassador, Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia (Vienna, Virginia)
Traci Lambert, NDSS DS-Ambassador, Down Syndrome Association of Northern Michigan (Traverse City, Michigan)
Shelby Long, Self-Advocate (Ashburn, Virginia)
Sandi Long, NDSS Athlete Ambassador (Ashburn, Virginia)
Kelly Lyons, Self-Advocate (Hartland, Wisconsin)
Robbin Lyons, NDSS DS-Ambassador, President and Co-Founder Wisconsin Upside Down (Hartland, Wisconsin)
Chad Meitner, Northwest Kansas Down Syndrome Society, Down Syndrome Society of Wichita, North Central Kansas Down Syndrome Association (Hays, Kansas)
Patti Mertz, B.S Elementary Education, co-founder Eastern Pennsylvania Down Syndrome Center (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Emily Mondschein, Vice President and Co-Founder 21_Connect, (Buffalo, New York)
Mary Morningstar Ph.D., University of Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas)
Beth Myers Ph.D., Syracuse University, Director of Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education (Syracuse, New York)
Roxane Romanick, M.S Social Work, Executive Director for Designer Genes of ND Inc. (Bismarck, North Dakota)
Steve Slack, Down Syndrome Network of West Virginia, (Hurricane, West Virginia)
Alex Wette, Assistant Director PASSAGE USA, (Mobile, Alabama)

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