The Down Syndrome Act
The Down Syndrome Act sets out the obligations on all relevant health, social care, housing, education and youth offending services in England and Wales to meet the needs of people with Down Syndrome when exercising their relevant functions. This builds on the government's stated commitment to improve outcomes for people with a learning disability.
The statutory guidance to the Down Syndrome Act is expected to be published in summer 2023. This page will link to that statutory guidance as and when it is published. At this point the local authority will identify a nominated lead for Down Syndrome who liaises directly with the Integrated Care board.
Collaborative working in Bromley
In Bromley our work towards improving the outcomes and life chances for children and young people with Down Syndrome forms a part of our annual SEND Action Plan. This plan and our actions towards it are overseen and scrutinised by the Bromley SEND Governance Board.
Our education, health, social care colleagues are proud to be partnered with the Bromley Down Syndrome Support Group (BDSSG) to develop a Down Syndrome pathway.
The BDSSG supports people with Down Syndrome, and their families, living within the Borough of Bromley and who use services within the Borough.
More information is available on their website; www.bromleydssg.co.uk.
Development and Learning
Children with Down Syndrome will have differing abilities and needs across development areas - motor, social, communication, cognition and self-help.
Children with Down Syndrome have many strengths including strong visual awareness and learning skills, the ability to learn using the written word and a strong desire to learn from and imitate peers and take their cue from them. Children with Down Syndrome will however need support and appropriate interventions in school - to overcome possible barriers to learning and inclusion. These barriers include delayed motor skills, expressive language delay, short term auditory memory and sensory impairment. This profile of learning is often referred to as a specific learning profile.
Each child is unique and different, and teachers must seek to identify individual strengths and barriers to learning - only then can learning and support be appropriately differentiated.
It is important that education providers are aware of the learning profile of the children and young people so that they can support them to make both academic and holistic progress.
Training for Early Years Settings and Schools
The SEN advisory team has developed two training packages for Early Years Settings and Schools that relate directly to the specific learning profile of children and young people with Down Syndrome and the development of reading skills.
This training is available, through the SEN Advisory team to all early years settings, schools and colleges wishing to build confidence and understanding in supporting the needs of children with Down Syndrome.
For further information on the training, please refer to SEND training collaborative brochure.
Children and young people with an EHCP in education settings can be referred to the Complex Needs Team for advice and support. Each school and college have a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) who is an advisory teacher in the Complex Needs Team. The referral needs to be discussed with them initially.
Social Care support for children and young people with Down Syndrome
There are a wide range of universal, targeted and specialist services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Many of which will be appropriate for those who have Down Syndrome. We suggest contacting the provider or discussion with the 0-25 service as to what will be the most appropriate.
If further support other than universal and targeted services is required, please consider an application via the Short Break On-line assessment or contacting the 0-25 service directly to discuss a Children and Family assessment being completed.
Bromley short breaks has further information and contact details for the 0-25 disabilities service.
Further support, information and resources
- Bromley Down Syndrome Support Group: www.bromleydssg.co.uk
- Downs Syndrome Association: www.downs-Syndrome.org.uk
- Downs Syndrome Association Local Support Groups: www.downs-Syndrome.org.uk/about-dsa/local-support-groups
- Down Syndrome UK provides training and peer support for parents: www.downsyndromeuk.co.uk
- Positive About Down Syndrome (PADS) is a website by parents for parents and parents-to-be: www.positiveaboutdownsyndrome.co.uk
- Down Syndrome Education International publishes research and has developed a wealth of resources and strategies for educating children with Down Syndrome: www.down-syndrome.org/en-gb
- The Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group (DSMIG) provides essential information for healthcare professionals on ‘best practice’ medical care for people with Down syndrome in the UK and Ireland: www.dsmig.org.uk
- Down Syndrome Association Resources for All: www.downs-Syndrome.org.uk/pregnancy-and-baby/resources-for-all
- NHS: www.nhs.uk/conditions/Down-Syndrome