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Down syndrome in the classroom

October is Down syndrome Awareness month, which is why we thought it would be important to understand down syndrome in the classroom.

We want to highlight how pupils with down syndrome deserve the same opportunities as their peers. We live in a world where too many people are set back due to the lack of understanding of everybody’s capabilities, which is why bringing awareness to such causes is so important.

Understanding Down syndrome in the classroom

Historically , pupils with Down syndrome  attended special schools as it was expected to be more beneficial to have classrooms fully catered to them. However, this is a common misconception highlighted by studies. Down syndrome students gain far better results when studying in mainstream schools. A study comparing those in special/mainstream schools showed peers in mainstream schools showed gains of more than 2 years in spoken language and 3 in reading and writing ability.


Mainstream schools are the optimal learning environment for students with Down syndrome:

Being in the classroom with non-disabled peers will have amazing benefits for your child. Rather than schools dedicated just to SEND students, schools should have the correct support available for all students.

  • Expectations are usually higher in mainstream schools: The classroom curriculum is set for non-disabled peers and makes them role models for literacy and language.
  • Being in mainstream schools will also allow them to become friends with non-disabled students: This will have amazing benefits for everyone, as students will become aware of Down syndrome, as well as help them form relationships.
  • Supporting inclusion: While Down syndrome children have additional educational needs, they still have the same needs as non-disabled children. Inclusion in mainstream schools will bring us closer to a more socially accepted world

According to the Global down syndrome foundation, teaching reading to children with down syndrome is most effective when teachers are well-trained and understand the correct learning approaches for students.

The Essential Education Group  offers a Down Syndrome in the classroom service to support schools. Please email us via info@essentialeducationgroup.com for enquiries.

The positivity of Language surrounding Down Syndrome in the classroom 

Using the correct language towards a person with down syndrome is essential. Positive language must be used in schools and advocacy developed to ensure we avoid using words that may be offensive or even hurtful. Additionally, it’s important to remember people do not suffer from Down syndrome, it is a natural genetic condition that occurs in people all around the world.

Person first language is a brilliant way to be more inclusive (for all disabilities) because it puts emphasis on the person rather than the disability. Instead of a Down syndrome child, say a child with Down syndrome. While it is something so small it will make such a difference.

Down Syndrome doesn’t limit your children’s potential

Here are a few entrepreneurs with Down Syndrome,  such great examples of the many people with Down syndrome who have found successful careers and making a mark on the world.

  • Laura Green: she set up her own fashion brand, Serendipity, after having little support from career advisors. Read more about her inspirational story here
  • Kris Foster – the founder and curator of The Open Book
  • Doggy Delights By Allison: Is a healthy dog treats business.
  • Collettey’s Cookies: Collette Divitto founded the bakery in 2016 in Boston, over the past 5 years they generated more than $1 million in revenue. As well as selling delicious cookies, she also supports others with disabilities to get jobs.

Down Syndrome does not create a disadvantage, but instead a different approach to the world, which is something we need more than ever right now. Providing the correct support to everybody is the change we need. Let’s continue to #Uniquelytakeyourplace

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