Down Syndrome Victoria offers an Education Support Service to preschools, primary schools and secondary schools throughout Victoria. Our ESS is a classroom-based support service for teachers providing practical assistance and resources to improve learning outcomes for students with Down syndrome and their classmates.
Professional training is run for teachers to strengthen the partnership between parents of children with Down syndrome and their school community.
We also receive DET funding to support a number of children transitioning from preschool into school and from primary to secondary school for those in mainstream government schools.
What’s included in the Education Support Service?
1. Three school visits (or 9 hours) per year
2. Email and phone consultation as required
3. Use of specialist ESS classroom resources
4. Assistance in a range of areas such as –
- Curriculum modification
- Positive behaviour development
- Assistance at SSG/strategy sessions
- Assistance sourcing specialist resources
- Assistance with individual learning plan development
Growing and learning
Children with Down syndrome can learn the same things that children without Down syndrome can learn – both the formal school learning and the wealth of informal learning that goes on whilst at school. Having an intellectual disability means that learning everything takes a bit longer – it is harder for most children with Down syndrome to grasp new concepts than it is for their classmates, and it can take more effort to retain new knowledge and skills and also to be able to apply them in different situations and contexts.
Whilst all children with Down syndrome face challenges in their learning, there are many things that can be done to support success and our Education Support Team are here to help.
Studies indicate that appropriate education delivered in inclusive settings offers the best opportunities for children with Down syndrome. Inclusion in typical classrooms is more likely to produce significant gains in expressive language skills and academic success, predominantly in literacy.
Whether a child is in a mainstream or special school setting, maintaining high expectations of both academic achievement and behaviour will help ensure that a student has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Like all of us, people with Down syndrome tend to conform to the expectations of those around them, and if there is no expectation of success, they are unlikely to be successful.
The choice of the school setting for your child can be a challenging one for parents and there are many factors that can influence this decision. Ultimately families are in the best position to determine the most appropriate educational setting for their child and family.