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Reaching High

By: Glen Hoos, Director of Marketing and Development

Taylir is just like any other 10-year-old girl, who loves swimming, camping and dancing. Unafraid of any challenge, she faces life with determination and an infectious sense of humour - characteristics that have served her well in the DSRF’s Success Builders reading program.

“As the oldest of four, we’ve always treated Taylir for who she is, and not her diagnosis,” says Taylir’s mom, Jodie. The family does not place limits on what Taylir can do, and this gives her the confidence she needs to build her foundational communication skills.

In the reading program, whether she’s playing word matching games, reading full storybooks, or swatting word-emblazoned lily pads with gusto, Taylir’s eagerness to learn always shines through - as does her desire to be heard and understood. Like many kids with Down syndrome, Taylir has struggled with reading, articulation and vocabulary. As her thoughts and feelings outpaced her ability to express herself, frustration set in.

Since Taylir began Success Builders, which capitalizes on her visual learning strengths to teach her sight words, Jodie has seen her daughter’s reading and communication skills improve dramatically. “She’s much more confident now, and getting a lot more fluent when reading,” she says. “It’s great when she can just pick up a book and start reading and understanding it.” As she works on her reading, Taylir is simultaneously growing in her communication abilities.

Taylir’s tremendous progress is an encouragement to her teachers, too. “Taylir is an extremely fun student to work with,” says DSRF reading teacher Eleanor Stewart. “She always laughs and has a positive attitude. When she comes to class, she’s attentive and tries her best at all the activities.”

Jodie enthusiastically endorses the DSRF reading program to other parents of children with Down syndrome, noting in particular how the teaching methods are customized to the unique strengths and needs of each child. “We can target Taylir’s specific areas that need help, and we’ve been taught strategies that we can bring into the school setting” for consistent reinforcement. As Taylir, her parents, her school teachers and DSRF’s teaching staff work together towards a common goal, Taylir is reaching new heights.

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