Down’s syndrome is a life-long genetic disorder which affects a baby's normal physical development and causes mild to severe learning difficulties. Down's syndrome is also known as trisomy 21.
- Children who are born with Down’s syndrome have an increased risk of additional health complications such as congenital heart, sight, and hearing problems.
- Downs syndrome occurs in about 1 in every 1,000 live births in the UK.
- It is not clear what causes Down’s syndrome but it seems the single biggest risk factor is the age at which a woman gives birth; the greatest risk (1 in 30) is associated with women who are 45 years of age or over.
- Individual learning support for each student with Down's syndrome will be different depending on their physical and developmental needs.
- Some children and young people will have an EHCP identifying their physical and learning needs.
- Low muscle tone can lead to difficulties controlling some body movements.
- Class seating plans should take account of individual needs such as hearing and sight difficulties.
- Advice from an occupational therapist on the correct positioning when working at a desk will help a student develop what works best for them.
- Access to a speech and language therapist will help teachers develop a programme tailored to the needs of the individual.
- When giving instructions, be clear and limit to one or two steps at a time.
- Signs and symbols can help with communication.
- Visual reminders will help with processing information.
- It can be very helpful if peers also learn to sign.
- Some children with Down's syndrome will learn to read at the same rate as peers without Down's Syndrome. It’s very important to have equally high expectations.
- For some children with Down's Syndrome their reading ability will be more advanced than verbal communication skills. It’s important that differences in rates of development do not limit progress.
- Development of writing skills will generally follow the same pattern as other children but may be delayed.