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Down’s Syndrome

Down’s syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in a baby’s cells, and around 1 in every 1000 babies born in the UK will have Down’s syndrome. It is typically associated with different rates of physical and cognitive development. People with Down’s syndrome may possess these attributes to varying degrees, and just like everyone else, their ability levels vary widely too. The learning disability affects a person’s ability to learn, but of course it does not mean that they cannot learn.

People with Down’s syndrome are all unique individuals with their own personalities and preferences. They have the same spectrum of feelings as anyone else and, just like any other child, want to play, have fun and make friends. Once you have met one person with Down’s syndrome, you have met one person with Down’s syndrome! As for the physical similarities, a person with Down’s syndrome will always look more like his or her close family than someone else with the condition.

At Highgate Primary, children with DS learn alongside their peers, often with additional support in the class. Their learning profile can differ from others, although like many other children in our school, they will learn in small groups or individualised 1:1 sessions, and take part in – and enjoy – plays, assemblies, sports, music and any other extracurricular activities offered at the school. Speech development can typically be delayed, however, in some key areas, and particularly in the early years, they may even be developmentally ahead of their peers.

It is often said that children are ‘colour-blind’ and at Highgate Primary we feel sure that this idea extends to special needs: although children tend to develop an awareness of ‘difference’ as they grow older, most of our younger pupils will not see anything other than another classmate with their particular blend of personality and interests.

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