More on Down Syndrome
ODSA believes that students with Down syndrome learn best in a mainstream inclusive environment where they can participate in the daily life of their community. We also recognise that some families choose to place their children in a special school/satellite class. If you would like to read more about the benefits of inclusive education and keys to successful inclusive education, click on the link below:
Good Practice Guidelines on Education for Children and Young People with Down Syndrome in the UK.
Click here to read more.
In Auckland there are many options for your child’s education available to you. By law your child is entitled to attend early childhood education and school like every other child in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Governments policy concerning students with special needs is clearly spelt out in ‘Success for All- Every School, Every
Child’. The policy places a heavy emphasis on inclusive education for all students. The vision in the document is to work towards developing a fully inclusive education system of confident schools, confident children and confident parents. The ‘Success for All...’ factsheet outlines what is meant by confident schools, children and parents, as well noting key changes that will take place over the next few years to see this happen.
Massage from Megan
"DON'T LIMIT ME!"- Powerful message from Megan with Down syndrome.
Early Intervention ServicesChildren with Down syndrome are able to access a range of early intervention services. These services are available from birth, and in the Auckland region are delivered by either CCS Disability Action or Group Special Education (GSE) which is part of the Ministry of Education.
The link below provides an excellent summary of how early intervention services work and what support is available:
Kidshealth Early Intervention
The early intervention services that CCS Disability Action can provide are described here:
CCS Disability Action early intervention services
Education about Schools
The early intervention services that the Ministry of Education and GSE provide are described here:
Ministry of Education and GSE early intervention services Transitioning to SchoolMaking decisions about your child’s schooling can be very difficult and stressful. Down Syndrome Victoria has developed an excellent resource to help parents with choosing an appropriate school for their child. This resource guides parents through things to look for in schools and questions to ask to ensure that the school you choose is the best possible fit for your child. Even though this resource is not specific to Auckland it is still a highly recommended text and we encourage parents who are about to start thinking about schools to read it.
Your Early Intervention team should help guide you through the transition process and help you with the early contact with the school if you would like them to.
An important aspect of the transition process is the preparation of the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) application. The ORS funding helps pay for the additional supports a child with Down syndrome needs to be successful in the school setting. You can read more about ORS here
The Ministry of Education website has lots of up-to-date information about the various avenues of support available, click on this link to go to the relevant page of their website.
When things go wrong and you need extra support click here for information about YouthLaw Services. Transitioning to Secondary SchoolThe transition to secondary school can be as stressful as the transition from early childhood to primary school. It is recommended that preparation for this change begins the year before your child is due to transition. By starting early, you have the chance to look at a range of schooling options and decide which one is best for your child. The link below takes you to a British article from Down Syndrome Education Online which outlines a number of questions that you as a parent can work through to help guide your decision making, and useful suggestions for things to look for and questions to ask when visiting secondary schools. It also tells the story of one family’s experience of selecting a school for their young person.
By secondary school age, students with Down syndrome face an ever-increasing gap between themselves and their typically developing peers. Deciding between continuing with inclusive education or moving into a special class or school, can become more difficult than ever. As outlined in the article above, it is clear that there are many facets that feed into the decision making process. However, it is worth keeping the benefits of inclusive education in mind. Professor Sue Buckley has done much research in this area, and has written a very interesting article about the benefits of inclusive education for students with Down syndrome. This article is available here:
As with the transition to primary school, you will have support available to you through GSE (Group Special Education). You may like to ask them to go with you to visit schools. Once you have decided on a school and have completed the enrolment process, it is a good idea to ask for your young person to be able to make transitional visits to their new school during Term 4 of the year before they start. Visits can begin with just coming for one period and gradually increase, perhaps building to include morning tea or lunch and maybe two periods. This can be negotiated with the staff from the new school, and your GSE support worker can help with this also. Usually it would be the Learning Support department that you would liaise with to organise this sort of thing. Allowing time for transitional visits can help prepare your young person for the new environment they are entering, and hopefully help alleviate any fears you or they may have.
ADSA’s ‘Education Resource Pack- Primary’If your child is about to start school and you are a member of ADSA then you will receive an invitation to attend a special evening to receive a School Resource Pack. These packs contain current information and a range of carefully selected resources to help support your child, and their teacher, as they start school. At the presentation evening, each item in the pack is briefly discussed to inform parents of how they can best be used. Parents can then decide what information they would like to share with their school. It is our hope that the Resource Packs provide an opportunity for families and schools to share information together and therefore strengthen the partnership between them.
It is ADSA’s intention to roll out packs for intermediate / secondary school students next, followed by packs to help support school leavers.
The Down Syndrome Association of Queensland provides support to parents and schools to ensure that students with Down syndrome are maximising their educational outcomes. This support is provided by the Education Consultant.
The overriding vision of the Education Consultant is to promote improved educational outcomes for all students with Down syndrome. This is achieved through an unwavering belief and commitment to the capacity of students with Down syndrome to achieve educationally. This is coupled with a focus on education in all areas including physical, emotional, intellectual and social learning. The Education Consultant oversees programs and services designed to maximise the developmental achievements of students with Down syndrome both in their educational environment and in the wider community. Services provided by the Education Consultant include the annual education conferences in both rural and urban Queensland, the development of resources, research based trials, professional development workshops, in-school support and general phone and email support.
DSAQ supports the right of parents to enrol their son or daughter at the school of their choice. All Queensland schools are required to adhere to the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005). Links to these documents can be found in the useful links section below. Schools are therefore required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure students with disability are able to participate in education on the same basis as students without disability.
In Queensland, there are three options for schooling:
•Government State schools (including special schools)
For more information about each of these and the support they can provide to students with Down syndrome, see the useful links section below.
Selecting a SchoolSelecting a school for your child can be an overwhelming task. In Queensland there are approximately 1250 state schools and over 485 independent and Catholic schools.
The Department of Education and Training has an online directory which lists all state and non-state schools in Queensland and provides links to school websites. It's a useful starting point to help identify the schools in your area. The directory provides contact details for all state, independent and catholic schools, including email and website addresses. The link to this directory can be found in the useful links section below.
Eligible children and young people are entitled to enrol at their closest appropriate state school. When choosing a school, consider your child's particular needs along with the support available at the school. It may be useful to write a list of questions about schooling to help guide your discussions with school staff, other parents and community agencies.
Support provided to Students with Down syndromeThe amount and type of support provided to a student with Down syndrome will vary between schools. The best option is to speak with a member of the school administration staff about the support they can provide. The useful links section below contains websites and documents from the State, Independent and Catholic schools systems detailing the support they provide to students with Down syndrome.
Support provided to ParentsThe Education Consultant is available to support parents of children with Down syndrome through their schooling. Services provided by the Education Consultant to support parents include:
•General phone and email support from the Education Consultant around all issues relating to the education of a student with Down syndrome
•Annual 2-day education conference in Brisbane which brings together experts in the education of children with Down syndrome
•Education workshops and one-day conferences throughout Queensland
•The development of resources to support the education of students with Down syndrome
Useful Downloads and Links•Events
Find out more about upcoming workshops and conferences being help in your region.
View our range of educational resources available for purchase.
•Education Queensland Schools Directory
Find a school in your local area by searching the school name, region or type of school.
•Department of Education, Training and Employment
Choosing a School- Considerations to make when selecting a school.
•Disability Discrimination Act (1992)
A full copy of the Disability Discrimination Act
•Disability Standards for Education (2005)
Outlines the obligations of education and training service providers under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the rights of people with disabilities in relation to education.
•Education Queensland Disability Policy
Information about the inclusion students with a disability within Education Queensland State Schools.
•Education Queensland - Education for children with disability - A guide for parents
Provides a broad understanding of the support available for children and young people with disability in the state school sector.
•Independent Schools Queensland
The services and support provided by Independent Schools in Queensland.
•Queensland Catholic Education Commission
Information about the inclusion students with a disability within Catholic Schools.
•Brisbane Catholic Education: Inclusive Education
Brisbane Catholic Education Inclusive Education Policy and Practices
•Catholic Education - Supporting Students with a Disability at School
A Guide for Parents