Unlocking the imaginations of the young and young at heart

Down's Syndrome

What is Down's Syndrome?

Down syndrome or Down's syndrome is a genetic condition caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. It is usually associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability.

Down syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans, occurring in about 1 per 1000 babies born each year.


Down's Syndrome and School

Down syndrome affects kids' ability to learn in different ways, but most have mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Kids with DS can and do learn, and are capable of developing skills throughout their lives. They simply reach goals at a different pace — which is why it's important not to compare a child with DS against typically developing siblings or even other children with the condition.

Some children with Down syndrome are educated in typical school classes while others require more specialised education. It is widely recognised that education and proper care improves quality of life.

If you choose a mainstream school for your down syndrome child, the school will most likely prepare an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is agreed by both parents and teachers. The plan will usually outline three targets with clearly defined outcomes.



Encouraging Reading

Children with DS are visual learners, so seeing a picture as well as doing/watching an action helps cement the sound they are hearing. Flashcards are commonly used with great success.


  • Introduce books that are built around their favourite subjects. Make your own with magazine pictures if you can't find something specific!

  • Flashcards are usually successful as they increase the frequency of the brain's exposure to language

  • Repetition! Keep repeating previous reading material if your child hasn't mastered it even if they are getting tired of it. However, continue to introduce fresh material to keep the learner engaged. This is a fine balance but by cleverly blending the new with the slightly stale, you'll have more success.

  • Choose books with extra spacing between the lines

  • Silly, ridiculous and funny stories are best!

  • Reading 5 mins a day beats an hour a week. Frequency is key