Update; Resumption of Early Intervention Programme

Dear Parents

I hope you and your families are keeping well and settling into a ’new’ normal. We know it has been a busy couple of weeks as many family members return to work, school / preschool after a long summer!

We want to take this opportunity to update you on the Early Intervention Home Teaching Service. There have been a few changes in the background following the recent AGM.

Many of you will know Rebecca Smyth who has been the Early Intervention Coordinator for a number of years now. She has decided to step back from this role and it will now fall to us – Ann Fallon and Andrea McArdle – to fill these big shoes.

A little bit about us … we are both Mammies of three, living in Drogheda, who have little ones currently enrolled in the Early Intervention Programme. Bobby is just shy of 2 years of age and Joanie is just over 2 and a half so we fully appreciate how important this service is to our families. We are delighted to be able to assist with this programme and are working towards its resumption with the Branch Committee and the home tutors.

We know some families have enquired when the service will restart and we had hoped that it would be from 7 September. However, we have been asked by Down Syndrome Ireland (head office) to postpone its resumption, based on current HSE advice, until at least the 21 September. This is basically to allow a period of time for the schools to return safely and monitor if there is any immediate impact on the spread of Covid-19 within the community.

We should mention that the Branch Committee has been working hard over the summer to establish a COVID-19 Response Plan that includes a range of procedures and guidelines relating to each of its services in advance of their re-commencement, which includes finalising the protocols for the Early Intervention Programme. Please be assured that the safety of our families, children and home tutors is our absolute priority and we will be circulating the finalised protocols well in advance of the service resuming so that each family has time to consider what is involved and if they are comfortable to proceed with visits at this time. As Rebecca mentioned in an earlier email, we understand every child and family circumstances can differ so there is no issue if you wish to suspend these visits temporarily.

We will be in touch again soon to update you on developments and please feel free to contact us at any stage if you have any queries or concerns. You can contact us by emailing us at earlyinterventionprogrammedslm@gmail.com.

In the meantime, stay safe and well.

Kind regards

Ann and Andrea

Ann Fallon and Andrea McArdle

Early Intervention Programme Coordinators

Down Syndrome Ireland

Louth/Meath Branch

Zoom Session for Parents & Toddlers

Zoom Session for Parents & Toddlers

Olive Buckeridge, DSI Early Years Specialist runs a weekly Louth/Meath Zoom Session for Parents & Toddlers on Tuesday each week on Zoom.

The Session will run on Tuesdays at 11.15AM

The sessions are informal with lots of Singing, Signing and some Vocabulary and there is no limit on the numbers just that they are for Parents and Toddlers.

Olive want to stress that Parents can dip in and out of them and use them as a support.

The Log-In details will be sent out by email. If you do not receive the email please contact Brendan on secretarydslm@gmail.com to receive it.

Preschool Speech Sound Practice

Preschool Speech Sound Practice

Olive Buckeridge is running a Speech Practice Group for Pre School Children on Zoom.

These are not intervention groups they are an opportunity to practice speech sounds. They are very general and they do not replace speech therapy sessions.

Olive will be running this online speech group on Thursdays at 2pm which will focus on a different sound weekly.

(Please note this is not a speech and language therapy session)

The Log-In details will be sent out by email. If you do not received the email please contact Brendan on secretarydslm@gmail.com to receive it.

Each week Olive will be focusing on a different sound and Olive will sent a little workbook in advance.

DSI ELECTION 2020 MANIFESTO

Election 2020 takes place on February 8th. Candidates, if elected, will have the power to shape the future of Ireland. Let’s make it a future where all people are valued, fully participating citizens.

Read our 2020 General Election Manifesto here: http://bit.ly/2tqBAZt

We call on candidates to commit to improving the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families.

We ask that you help our campaign by using #DisabilityVotesCount

#GE2020#EveryVoteMatters#ShareTheJourney

THE FIRST BIG STEP – TRANSITION TO PRIMARY SCHOOL CONFERENCE

THE FIRST BIG STEP – TRANSITION TO PRIMARY SCHOOL CONFERENCE

The First Big Step – Transition to Primary School conferences will benefit both parents, teachers, SNA’s and other professionals from the knowledge and expertise of the individual presenters and topics covered. As an attendee, you will gain an insight into the learning profile of a young child with Down syndrome and practical strategies to support them in the classroom environment.

We welcome all people who are part of the team supporting the student with Down syndrome, including parents, teachers, SNAs and other professionals

Topics to be covered at the conference may include:

▪️The Process of Transitioning to Primary School
▪️Choosing a school
▪️Additional supports
▪️Facilitating the transition to Primary School
▪️Early Primary Literacy
▪️Early Primary Numeracy
▪️Lámh
▪️Guest speakers will also present at the conferences from the following disciplines audiology, psychology and occupational therapy.

This conference will be held in a number of different locations over the coming months, our final dates are:

▪️February 8th: Down Syndrome Ireland, Ballymount, Dublin.
▪️February 28th: Great National Hotel, Ballina, Co.Mayo.
▪️March 14th: Clayton Silversprings Hotel, Cork.

Registration is at 9:30 am with the conference starting at 10 am – 4 pm.

To book your tickets, please visit our website here: http://bit.ly/2NUdcpV

For further details please contact our Early Years Specialist – Olive Buckeridge by email at olive@downsyndrome.ie

#ShareTheJourney #DSIConferences #FirstBigStep

Tons of Fun Tots welcomes an unexpected guest …

There was great excitement at the Tons of Fun Tots playgroup during its last session when a certain someone in a familiar red suit paid an unexpected visit to some of the youngest members of the DSI Louth Meath Branch.

We had a room full of excited boys and girls, all dressed up for Christmas, and ready to party with their teacher, Triona Cussen. We were practicing “good sitting” and singing some seasonal classics. All the boys and girls were attentively watching Triona demonstrate some Lámh signs along with the songs when who should come in the door  … only Santa Claus!

Practicing Good Sitting

Some of the children were very excited to meet the man himself while others were a little more hesitant but Santa made sure he had a little something for everyone in his sack.

Suffice to say it was a great morning and a wonderful lead up to the Christmas season.

A special word of thanks to Mickey Rooney and all the staff in St Mary’s GAA, Ardee as well as the transition year students from Ardee Community School. The Christmas party was a huge success, enjoyed by both the babies and parents alike.

A Happy Christmas to you all.

Tons of Fun Tots is a play & educational group based in Ardee for pre-school children with Down Syndrome. The group is suitable for babies/wobblers/toddlers from 6 months to preschool/school age. However, new mums/dads & younger babies are always welcome. The group is a formal, but fun-based, learning environment for infants and young children and introduces them to lots of songs and rhymes using Lámh which helps develop their social skills and build a close circle of friends. It is also a valuable resource for parents, providing an opportunity for them to see Lámh being used in a setting that is both informal and more importantly, fun.

For further information on Tons of Fun Tots, please contact:

Brendan Stephenson at secretarydslm@gmail.com or Andrea McArdle 086-3709831 https://dsilmb.ie/more/tons-of-fun-tots/

DSI Christmas Cards for 2019

The Branch has received its allocation of DSI Christmas Cards for 2019.

Cards are available for purchase from Brendan on secretarydslm@gmail.com, 083 8972044, Ellie on email elliecosgrove@hotmail.com, 087 6671393 or from any Committee Member.

Cards cost 
Member designed cards (4 designs per pack) in packs of 12 @ €6.00 per pack
Small box of 10 cards (1 design per box) @ €7.00 per pack
Small Cello Packs of 10 cards (1 design per pack) @ €7.00 per pack
* NEW * Christmas Bonus Box of 30 Assorted Cards (16cm square) @ €8.00 per pack

DSI Launches New Education Booklets

Down Syndrome Ireland are delighted to launch vital new resources for parents and teachers of children with Down syndrome in a variety of educational settings.

Our 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.

 

There is information about Down syndrome, about the learning profile and about various issues which might interfere with a student’s ability to access the curriculum. Topics covered include literacy; numeracy; movement, sport and leisure; managing behaviour and social and emotional development. It also provides a pathway to Junior Cycle. With each chapter, there are suggestions of practical, manageable ways to help.

Our 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.

All four resources were launched this week at the first of our six Managing Behaviour & Transitions for the Student with Down syndrome education conferences taking place around the country.  If you are interested in attending any of our upcoming conferences, please visit here.

The booklets were produced by Down Syndrome Ireland thanks to funds raised through our HB Fundays campaign with HB Hazelbook Farm.

https://downsyndrome.ie/dsi-launches-new-education-booklets/

CCSP Scheme update

It has been announced that the Government will be extending the CCSP scheme until August 2021. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has confirmed that anyone registered at the close of the current registration window (October 25th) will be allowed to roll over into the following year.

The Government is also extending the maximum enhanced hours to 45 hours per week and maximum standard hours to 20 hours with effect from Sept 2020.

We’ll update you when we hear more.

https://downsyndrome.ie/ccsp-scheme-update/