Marisa Saravisky
Dr. Liebert Marx
PSY 213
T/TH 12:30-1:45
Special Education Topic Paper

By far the most common genetic syndrome, Down syndrome is usually not an inherited
condition, but, rather an anomaly at the 21 st pair of chromosomes. Also referred to as trisomy 21,
Down Syndrome is the most common form of intellectual disability that can be identified at
birth. Down Syndrome is associated with a range of distinctive physical characteristics that vary
considerably from one individual to another. Small structures, slanted upward eyes, decreased
muscle tone, hyper flexibility of joints, small oral cavity, short, broad hands and heart defects.
The degree of intellectual disability among people with Down Syndrome varies widely, but most
individuals fall in to the moderate range. In recent years, more children with Down Syndrome
have achieved IQ scores in the mildly intellectually disabled range than presumably because of
intensive special education programming. Some of the behavioral phenotypes or patterns of
behavioral characteristics of Down syndrome include, weaknesses in receptive and expressive
language (especially grammar), problems interpreting facial emotions, and the worsening of
cognitive skills over time. Relative strengths of down syndrome include visual-spatial skills and
visual short-term memory.
Under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law, all children and youths
with disabilities have the right to a free, appropriate public education. Christian and Terrie
Killoran of, file d a federal lawsuit on August 13, 2015 against the Westhampton
Beach School district for not providing a special education program in the middle school that can
meet their 13-year-old son Aiden's needs. The suit alleges that the Westhampton Beach district
"will not even try" to place his son because it lacks the program he needs. Aiden Killoran is
entering 7 th grade in the Westhampton Beach School District in September 2016. Aiden has
Down- Syndrome.
From kindergarten to sixth grade, Aiden attended Remsenburg- Elementary
school. The Remsenburg-Speonk district created a special program for Aiden while he was an
elementary student. It would make common sense for Aiden to be able to attend the same school
as his siblings and his peers. "The legal complaint, filed August 13 under the Individuals With

Disabilities Education Act, claims the district "has steadfastly refused to accept" special
education children as "Westhampton Beach simply does not want any severely impaired
children." " The suit asks that the court order the district to admit the child "as a seventh-grade
student" under an Individual Education Program, or IEP, for classes with a one-on-one teaching
assistant and resource room help, as well as physical and speech therapy several times a week. "
Under an agreement within the Westhampton Beach school district, any child who requires
special education would be transported to Eastport-South Manor. Aiden's parents did not want
this arrangement for their son. They wanted Aiden to be enrolled in the Westhampton Beach
school district for the beginning of the school year. With an on-going hearing, Aiden will receive
services at the Westhampton School District. Until his placement is determined by the special
education committee, Aiden will receive homeschooling.
Aiden's case and his parents fight for his placement in the Westhampton Beach school
district is much more than just one family's fight. It is much more than that in my opinion. Cases
like t his probably happen frequently. It gives the special n eeds community a voice and it shines
a light on some of the issues the children and their families could face. Special Education
services improve every year and the children who require these services could not do what they
can do without them.
Bringing children with disabilities into the public school sy stem was a fight within itself
in the 20 th century. Normalization continues to be a goal of in special education and all other
aspects of responding to a disability. I am a supporter of inclusion. Inclusion is the most
controversial issue growing out of the idea of normalization. I believe that the child who
possesses the disability acquires more academic or functional skills. They acquire these skills
because of the higher expectations and greater stimulations in the general education classroom.
Being around "normal kids" helps students with disabilities acquire social skills. Siblings with
and without disabilities go to