We feel that although most Down syndrome children in Gibraltar are included in “mainstream schools” we have still a long way to go to. Individuals with Downs syndrome are unique. The best way to help all of us achieve this is the acquisition of the necessary specialised knowledge from professionals who specifically deal with Down syndrome. We have for many years had a very close and rewarding relationship with The Down Syndrome Educational Trust, based at The Sarah Duffen Centre in Portsmouth in southern England.
The Down Syndrome Educational Trust is a charity, based in the United Kingdom, that works to advance the development and education of individuals with Down syndrome. This Trust is a recognised world leader in research into the cognitive development and education of children with Down syndrome. Building on this foundation of scientific research, the Trust publishes information and practical guidance, organises conferences and workshops, and provides advisory and consultancy services for families and professionals concerned with the care and development of people with Down 's syndrome.
We recognise that the Gibraltar Education Department cannot fund for all SENCO’s, teachers and aides who come in contact with our children to be specially trained in the UK. Therefore, we have thought of a more feasible way in which to make this knowledge available. To this end we are arranging for two members of The Down Syndrome Educational Trust to visit Gibraltar to share with us their unique insight into the present and emerging challenges that face parents, teachers and other professionals educating/caring for individuals with Down syndrome.
Professor Sue Buckley, OBE BA (Hons) Cpsychol AFBPsS (Director of Research and Training Services. Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disability, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
The visit will take the form of a two-day conference aimed at professionals, carers and parents. It will take place from 11 to 12 October 2005 and we are finalising venue arrangements.
The Down Syndrome Educational Trust will be hosting the 4th International conference on Developmental Issues in Down Syndrome 2005 from 15 to 18 September 2005 at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom. The Conference will cover early intervention and school education – from research to practice.