Fiona McLean shares her story of managing Turner Syndrome
What is Turner Syndrome?
Turner Syndrome is the result of a chromosome disorder. The condition is specific to girls (about one in 2,500 girls suffer it). The effects vary, but there a number of physical and health conditions characteristic of it. A girl with Turner Syndrome may:
- Be below average height
- Not go through normal changes at puberty
- Have health problems (kindey, high blood pressure, thyroid, diabetes, heart)
- Have problems with hearing
- Certain physical characteristics i.e. abnormal bone development at hands and elbows; low hairline at the back of the neck; drooping eyelids; extra folds of skin at shoulders.
Impact on Learning & Skills Development
Impact on learning may include:
- Difficulties with some areas of learning in maths - particularly visual/spacial
- Can develop good language skills
- Social and/or emotional problems may also present
- Difficulties present when there is an unexpected change in routine
- Tend to be an auditory rather than a visual learner
Learning Tips & Strategies
- Provide activities that encourage the building of self-esteem
- Use a multi-sensory approach to learning
- Use strategies to develop visual/spacial skills;
- Encourage the development of ICT skills to increase motivation
- Encourage participation in all school/group activities where possible
- Organisational skills may need to be taught - the use of reminder signs and notes, colour-coded books and copies, may be of use in this regard
- Give advance warning and explicit descriptions of any change that will happen
At Primary Level Education:
At Secondary Level Education:
A student who has been receiving special education support or resources while in Primary School is eligible for continuation of support at secondary level, once they continue to have a special educational need.
The same general provisions he/she received in primary school apply at Secondary Level. This typically includes specialist teaching from a Learning Support or Special Education Resource teacher (both now referred to as Special Education teachers).
This support is provided based on need, with the number of hours of support determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) drawn up in the last year of primary school.
At Third Level Education:
Going to college is the gateway to many rewarding careers for all young people, including those with Turner Syndrome. It also provides life-changing opportunities for more mature people with difficulties or disabilities.
You don’t have to be eligible for DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) to get support in college. All students with a verified disability, regardless of whether they come through DARE or not, can avail of a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third level. Further information on the support available in college can be found at accesscollege.ie
Full details of the DARE screening criteria are available here.
In the Workplace
Many organisations now make public claims to be an "equal opportunities employer". This suggests the existence of an equal opportunities policy (EOP), which is a policy statement adopted by the organisation declaring an intent not to discriminate and, further, to promote equality by taking steps to aid disadvantaged groups. Such employers are in effect promising to avoid discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status, and may also make such a commitment in relation to people with a disability and racial and ethnic minorities.
Impact on Career Choice
Skills for workplace success fall into two main categories: hard skills and and soft skills. Hard skills are job-specific and they vary, depending upon the industry or field in which you want to work. For example, a graphic artist must have the computer skills that go with that job.
Soft skills are the personal characteristics that go with a variety of jobs - they include social skills, problem solving, communication, time management, and organisation. For example, a person who prefers to work alone might find a research job particularly appealing. Explore Career Skills in more detail here.