COVID-19 is here and it’s the responsibility of everyone to help prevent or slow down the spread of the virus – in this resource section, we have collected all of the most up to date information and materials to help educate and support our members and their families during this most difficult time. We at Down Syndrome Ireland are doing all we can to support our members and anyone who needs help during this difficult time.
We provide all-through-life supports and services with specialists in the areas of health, speech and language, early development, education and adult training and education, employment and independence and adult advocacy.
This is a worrying time for everyone, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone if you need us. You can reach out to any of our team and you’ll find our contact details on our team member page.
Our Clinical Nurse Specialist for children with Down syndrome Fiona Mc Grane is also available to provide advice and support during the current pandemic. Fiona can be contacted via email at email@example.com or alternatively on 0878334916.
Hygiene is a very important aspect of safety for those that are most vulnerable to the virus. The video below from the World Health Organisation (WHO) demonstrates the correct process for washing hands – which we would advise everyone to be aware of and practice.
DSI Easy Read guide – We have developed an easy read to help adults with Down syndrome understand the Coronavirus.
HSE Covid-19 Public Information Booklet – Covid-19 Public Information Booklet (Easy Read) was released online by the HSE, it features commonly asked questions about the virus, how to protect yourself, how to tell if you have the virus, who should be extra careful and steps to keeping well while self-isolating at home.
For parents and carers – The ‘New Normal’?
Managing emotions and behaviour – Often fear, anxiety and uncertainty can trigger (or amplify) behaviour problems. Our Member Support team have developed coping and management strategies to help parents at this difficult time.
Early Years –Tips for helping you and your child communicate, expert information prepared by Nicola Hart, our Speech and Language Advisor and head of our Member Support Team. She has compiled guidance on how your child learns to speak and use language as well as tips for helping you and your child communicate with each other and the world in the best possible way. The information is broken down into life stages from the early years right up to adulthood.
Sea and Learn – We’re continuing with our See and Learn Programme – is an evidence-based and structured teaching programme which teaches speech, language and reading skills in small steps for children with Down syndrome up to 6 years of age. The programme is designed to help educators and parents provide young children with additional support and practice they need to learn language.
In this training video we have developed for parents, early years educators and teachers working with young children using the See and Learn Programme during the pandemic featuring Down Syndrome Ireland’s Early Years Specialist Olive Buckeridge. The See and Learn programme is run by the charity thanks to funds raised as part of our HB Fundays campaign.
Tips for assessing illness in a child with Down syndrome – This visual guide for assessing the physiological and behavioural differences to assess sickness was made by a doctor who is also a parent of a child with Down syndrome, it includes tips for triaging and treating a child with Down syndrome.
DSMIG information – The Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group Ireland and UK released information on Covid-19 and how it may impact on people with Down syndrome.
HSE Health Passport – Health passports are very important for people with disabilities, especially people with communications difficulties. A health passport allows health professionals to treat the person and cater to their individual needs. You can also access this Guidance Document to assist family members/ carers in truly capturing the health needs and preferences of the individual supported.
Communication Development Activities – These weekly issued resources have been developed by our Early Years Specialist, Olive Buckeridge. Olive has used these activities in individual and group therapy sessions. These activities can be easily carried out at home as each activity is nice and short. You can do one, some, or all of these activities. You may choose to do them daily or weekly, it’s completely up to you:
Early years and Education – We have a dedicated Education section on our site, aimed at helping parents of early years and primary school-age children keep on top of their child’s development and learning new skills. You can also look over our full section dedicated for family members that help with all life stages.
Education booklets – A vital resource for parents and teachers of children with Down syndrome in a variety of educational settings:
- Supporting students with Down syndrome in post primary school booklet provides educators and parents alike with information and advise on how to help students with Down syndrome thrive in mainstream education settings.
- Supporting students with Down syndrome in special schools booklet provides parents and educators with information and advise on how to help students with Down syndrome thrive in special education settings. It also provides suggestions for intervention for children with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The move from primary to post primary school can often be difficult for any student. For a student with Down syndrome, that bit of extra thought, planning and preparation will help ease this transition – to the benefit of both the new arrival and the school. Our Supporting Students with Down syndrome transition from primary to post primary school booklet outlines some simple initiatives and practical steps teachers and parents can take to support students.
A very useful tool to help ease the transition from primary to post primary school is preparing a ‘Getting Ready for Post Primary School – My Workbook’. Print off this workbook and personalise it with information, pictures and other useful tips and it can be used to prepare students for the move.
DSI articles on transitioning for school children:
- When and how should my child go back to school
- Transitioning from early education to primary school
- Transition to Post Primary School
Adult resource – Our resource for adults with Down syndrome is designed to help keep our members active in physically, reading, and writing activities. It also covers a wide range of other online and offline projects to stave off boredom – along with lots of useful downloads to create a fun and engaging home learning schedule during the current cocooning/self-isolating.
Campaigning through COVID 19
- DSI welcomes revised Covid-19 critical care guidance
- DSI co-signs open letter to Taoiseach outlining concerns about Covid 19 in disability residential settings
- DSI co-signs a document on Ireland’s obligations under the UNCRPD
- DSI outlines concerns on Department of Health COVID-19 guidance
- Update from HSE regarding new Covid 19 testing requirements
- DSI in ongoing communication with HSE