Some people learn best by seeing; some by listening or writing. Some people learn by repetition. In this family first- we spent an afternoon in a Life Skills class at Chandler Elementary where the students see, hear, hold, and do in every lesson. The students in Ms. Towlers class spend most of their day in traditional classrooms, but in the afternoons they come here. "Theyre at a level we might start at age six because it might take em till theyre 12 years old to master that," says teacher Robin Towler. The students are cooking, washing dishes, and learning hygiene skills like face washing, using deodorant, and brushing. Like all children, they learn by doing, and redoing. "A lot of the children have fine motor skill problems. They cant uncap the toothpaste and recap it. So it takes the a lot longer to master those. So if we get them started early, hopefully theyll be independant in high school." This day- they worked on names. Thats hayden hirshberger. He has down syndrome. Most kids with down syndrome are delayed in language, play, and social behavior. World renowned educator Dr. Joann Deak says generally speaking students with down syndrome learn best when what theyre lessons pertain to their everyday life. "So if youre learning math, you dont put numerals on a page. You get a pie and you start cutting it up. Or you get a cookie. So you relate it to everyday life." Music is known to help in learning across the board. Have you ever wondered why we "sing" our ABCs? Its a lot easier to recall something youre trying to remember if you can sing it. Plus, its just fun. The learning tool that seems to make the biggest difference in Haydens education is the time his parents spend with him at home. They reinforce what he learns at school. "You would think he wants to be an entertainer, but no - he wants to be a firefighter," Haydens Mother. And today, many more people with down syndrome are learning to read, write, and acheieve academically than ever before. Kids like Hayden are growing up to work and live independently or with minimal help. By zeroing in on the way hayden learns best, his parents and teachers are setting him up for a big- bright future. Smile on Down Syndrome is hosting the annual Buddy Walk at Vanderburgh County fair grounds and youre invited. Its Saturday, September 29th. Registration begins at 9. The walks at 10.