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Northland Down Syndrome Support Group

Information and Resources for Schools

While every child with Down syndrome is different -- just as we are all different -- there is a significant body of research that suggests that there are common characteristics of learners with Down syndrome.

This learning profile can be summarised as follows:

General Strengths of Learners with Down Syndrome

  • Visual, spatial, and kinaesthetic skills, giving the ability to:

    • Use gesture, sign and symbols effectively

    • Learn and use the written word (reading and writing)

    • Learn from demonstration and visual resources

    • Learn using practical hands-on activities

    • Copy behaviours and attitudes of peers and adults

  • Social skills:

    • Empathy

    • Good humour and likeability

    • Desire to communicate and participate

    • Emulation and aspiration, driven by peers

  • Developing learning avoidance strategies!


General Areas of Challenge for Learners with Down Syndrome

  • Delayed and impaired cognitive functioning

  • Delayed fine and gross motor skills

  • Hearing and visual impairment

  • Delayed and impaired speech and language

  • Difficulties with short term auditory memory

  • Shorter concentration span

  • Difficulties with consolidation and retention

  • Difficulties with generalisation, sequencing, and reasoning

  • Feel failure very strongly, leading to easily giving up and losing self-esteem

To support schools working with learners with Down syndrome, we offer the following services:

  • Books and resources for loan to teachers, teacher aides, SENCOs, and school leaders - both primary and secondary

  • Reading programmes designed specifically for learners with Down syndrome available on loan

  • Numicon kits (on loan) and annual Numicon training days free of charge for schools with learners with Down syndrome

  • Individualised support and advice for school staff working with learners with Down syndrome from our School Liaison Officer

For more information, please contact Jo Morrison on 0210 822 4584 or

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