SAN JOSE, CA – Every March 21, across the globe we honor World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). A day set aside to raise awareness about Down syndrome, and the important role and positive impact of individuals with Down syndrome in our community. On this day, people with Down syndrome and those who live and work with them throughout the world organize and participate in activities and events to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of individuals with Down syndrome.
According to the Center for Disease Control, one in 700 babies born in the United States have Down syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by abnormal cell division. Those diagnosed may have mild to severe intellectual and developmental problems.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) has an important role as a provider of direct services to almost 1,700 students from birth to age 22 in our Special Education Programs, and through indirect services to nearly 29,000 students with coordinated services through our Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) programs. The Early Start Program provides early assessments and eligibility referral for individual need and support and resources to family and caregivers. The SCCOE also provides services to special education students attending institutional schools, community schools, and pediatric-skilled nursing facilities.
At SCCOE, we believe that ALL children have the right to full access to quality learning and community environments. We focus on the successful inclusion and equity of ALL children, regardless of ability. We are stronger when we work together to build equitable, diverse, and inclusive partnerships.
The Inclusion Collaborative (IC) is one of our programs that help meet the needs of evidence-based professional development, coaching, and technical assistance for schools, families, after-school programs, childcare centers, family child care homes, and community agencies. IC also provides additional support to educators and education professionals through their annual Inclusion Collaborative conference, a three-day event which brings support professionals together to learn best practices and share resources. In addition, IC partners with agencies to ensure equity and supports policies and legislation related to including all children.
Initiatives like our Person-First initiative encourages local media outlets, governing bodies and community agencies to adopt "Person-First" terminology when referring to people with disabilities – a move guided by a vision of a more inclusive, caring community for all people.
In response to the recommendations made by the Statewide Special Education Taskforce, SCCOE has established a Taskforce to examine the continuum of services available in the County. We just completed a preliminary survey of key stakeholders and a town hall. Through this collaboration, we hope to build upon the strengths of the districts and increase their capacity to serve students with disabilities in more inclusive environments.
Every year, staff and students participate in our Special Education Walkathon and the Kiwanis Special Games. Students and staff raise money for Special Education enrichment programs at our annual Walkathon, and the Special Games is an annual sporting event that brings students from across the Bay Area together for a competition.
Please join me in recognizing World Down Syndrome Day and reflect upon the successes, joys and triumphs of individuals with Down syndrome. To learn more about World Down Syndrome Day visit
https://www.worlddownsyndromeday2.org/. The resource links below offer additional information on various services and programs.
SCCOE Special Education Program:
Connect Post Senior Program:
Early Start Program:
Inclusion Collaborative Annual Conference:
Inclusion Collaborative 2018 Conference Video Playlist:
Person First Language:
Special Education Taskforce:
SCCOE Educator Preparation Programs:
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About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 21 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.