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Helping the Down Syndrome community feel accomplished in the classroom

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Posted at 11:44 AM, Oct 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-25 11:51:35-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Everyone deserves the opportunity to continue learning; however, for some, those chances aren’t as easy to access.

That’s what the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky is trying to change.

“We know that when people with Down Syndrome graduate high school a lot of times there’s not a lot of social opportunities and they want to continue to learn,” Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky executive director Traci Brewer said.

“They’ve seen their siblings go to college and they want to go college but that’s sometimes no as easy a path for them.”

That passion to help led to a partnership with Bluegrass Community Technical College to enroll people with Down Syndrome as students.

Every semester for the last five years, people have been welcomed back into the classroom to learn more about various subjects.

This semester’s focus is public speaking, which students, like Emily Wright, are excited about.

“I used to be shy, but now I’m a little more confident because I’ve learned and am continuing to learn how to do public speaking,” Wright said.

Students go through different lessons and activities to help them open up and feel comfortable talking in front of an audience.

This team-up between the Down Syndrome Association and BCTC has recently gotten a boost through the Next Steps Program.

It was a three-week session of students coming to class three days a week to go through multiple subjects for school and even the working world.

“They really gave us more opportunities to learn other subjects. Just to understand the concepts of what that subject is or what we need to understand to get out there into the community,” Wright said.

Since these classes started, Brewer and other leaders with the Down Syndrome Association have seen how happy students are to get to class.

It’s an opportunity they’ve always wanted to feel a sense of success and accomplishment.

“People with Down Syndrome learn what we all learn just at a different pace. It’s really neat to see students different learning styles coming together and getting to know each other,” Brewer said.

“We are worth something. Just understand we are the people we are today because of these classes and the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky,” Wright said.

If you want to learn more about the Down Syndrome of Central Kentucky, click here.