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


Northland Down Syndrome Support Group is a charitable trust for people with Down syndrome, their families and their teachers. Run by parents of children with Down syndrome of all ages, we support, advise, advocate, provide resources and have fun!

We are affiliated with New Zealand Down Syndrome Association and proud to be supported by the Lottery Grants Board.

DONATE by online banking

ASB: 12-3115-0061253-00

Northland Down Syndrome Support Group


General enquiries: 0210 814 3744


School enquiries: 0210 822 4584


© 2018 Northland Down Syndrome Support Group Charitable Trust.
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