What can I do as a parent to support my child with…Down’s Syndrome?

General points

  • Show your child how to do something rather than tell them – this can be easier to follow.
  • Look out for changes in mood or behaviour. If something is wrong, they might not be able to tell you.
  • Encourage your child to take part in lunchtime clubs and after school activities to build friendships.
  • Start preparing your child for healthy adult relationships . They will be involved in sex education lessons, but having these conversations reinforced at home is really important.
  • Encourage small steps towards independence, such as helping to make the dinner and cleaning their room. Showing them how to complete these life skills will be beneficial long term. 
  • Provide opportunities and support for making both big and small decisions. Try to offer positive choices that minimise risk and the likelihood of failure. 

Before school

  • Have a set routine that your child can follow in the morning – eat breakfast at the same time and set off for school at the same time every day. This will help them to know what’s happening and feel more settled.
  • Set and follow a routine to take care of hygiene needs.

After school

  • Encourage exercise; it can really help with teenage stress and promotes positive self-esteem and good physical and mental health.
  • Wind down before bed and follow the same bedtime routine each night.

What can I do to support myself with my… Down’s Syndrome?

Before school

  • Make sure I have everything I need for the day in my bag. It might help to pack it the night before so I am not rushing in the morning.
  • Follow my hygiene routine – have a wash and put deodorant on in the morning. 
  • If I would like some more social time at school I can come to breakfast club to be with my friends.

At school

  • If I have a problem in a lesson, tell the teacher or the teaching assistant in the room and they can help me.
  • Go to a lunchtime or after school club for one of my hobbies. This will help me to make new friends. 
  • Recognise when I am feeling sad, angry or overwhelmed and tell a trusted adult who can help me.
  • Think about what subjects I enjoy at school and what I am good at. This might give me some ideas for what career I’d like to have in the future.
  • Come to the Learning Resource Centre if I need some quiet time at break or lunch.

After school

  • If I need extra help with my organisation, or any help with my homework I can go to homework club and a teacher will help me.
  • If I am confused or frustrated about anything that happened at school, tell my parents and they can help me. 
  • Do my night time routine before bed. Avoiding looking at my phone or tablet too close to bedtime will help me sleep better. 

What are we doing as a school to help students with…Down’s Syndrome?

Before the student arrives at Archbishop Holgate’s

  • Meg Holmes, the school’s SENDCo, attends the student’s last EHCP / MSP review of Year 6 to ensure a smooth transition to secondary school.
  • Students with Down’s Syndrome will get the option of a second, quieter transition visit to Archbishop Holgate’s in a small group and with their teaching assistant if possible.
  • Staff will know about an individual student’s learning needs through the SEND register and key information may also be passed on through training or any relevant plans/paperwork that is in place

During the school day

  • Quality first inclusive teaching in the classroom.
  • Access to breakfast club and homework club if needed.
  • Regular check-ins with pastoral staff to make sure students are ok and to check whether any issues have arisen. 
  • Access to the Nurture Group class. 
  • Teaching assistant support in the classroom.
  • Access to visual timetables if needed.
  • Support to attend any trips and visits to ensure a holistic mainstream school experience. 
  • Use of the intervention room and Learning Resource Centre as a quiet space if needed.
  • Access to lunchtime and after school clubs to encourage friendships and conversation practice. 

Upskilling staff

  • Regular CPD opportunities to attend courses run by Down Syndrome charities 
  • Whole school learning opportunities during staff meetings

Key websites for more information: