Fun with Numbers

Thank you for expressing interest in taking part in the Fun With Numbers Zoom workshops.

We had a lot of interest, especially from our teenage members, so we have set up the following age groupings however if your child’s age falls outside these categories we will still try to accommodate, it’s not too late to get in touch.

The workshops will be taking place on Thursdays with the first session scheduled for Thursday 5th November .

The times of the sessions are as follows:

Ages 8-11 – 3.30pm

Ages 12-18 – 4.30pm

Down Syndrome Louth Meath will cover the cost of the four weeks so there will be no cost to parents for those four weeks. We will review at the end of 4 weeks and will welcome your feedback.

The students will need some materials ahead of the sessions, but Deirdre will let you know ahead of time what will be needed – it will all be inexpensive stuff that you may already have or can recycle around the house or will be able to get in the likes of Dealz.

Deirdre will also send links for printable materials, should any member not have access to a printer please contact us immediately when Deirdre posts links to printables and we can arrange to have them posted to you.

We will be setting up a WhatsApp group for each age group, so that Deirdre can fill you in on what materials are needed and send you the Zoom ID and password. Deirdre posts a video each week explaining about materials required.

Please let me know if you would like your child to take part. I will need the following details by return of email as soon as possible.

Child Name:

Parents name and telephone number for WhatsApp Group:

Child’s age:

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me

Early Intervention Home Teacher Programme

The Branch Early Intervention Home Teacher Programme has restarted after the Pandemic lockdown.

The Branch has developed a new Covid-19 Policy, Risk Assessment as well as Protocols for our Tutors and Families so that we could reopen safely.The relevant Protocols have been sent to our relevant families.

People with Down syndrome may be particularly vulnerable to complications of Covid-19 because of underlying conditions so we ask you to read through the protocols thoroughly and reflect on whether you are comfortable to continue with the service at this time.

We have made every effort to put the appropriate protections in place to ensure the safety of families and the EI Home Tutors. If you have any concerns or queries regarding the resumption of the EI Programme, or the policy & protocols, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to go through the details with you.

If you decide that you are not comfortable to go ahead with the home visits just yet, please contact us and let us know.

We understand that you may wish to temporarily suspend the visits for the moment and please be assured there is no penalty for doing this.

For families who decide to resume the home visits, we will be asking you to complete and sign the Resumption of Early Intervention Programme form confirming that you are happy to resume home visits and that you agree to abide by the protocol as outlined.

We have also developed a Personal Assessment Declaration Form to assist with contact tracing and this form must be completed before each home visit. The link to the form will be sent to you before your first visit to fill out online and you will simply repeat this exercise before each fortnightly visit.

We are closely following the latest reports in the media from NPHET & the Government and if there is any change, we will advise our families accordingly.

A big Thank You to our EI Home Teacher Coordinators Andrea McArdle, Ann Fallon and also Rebecca Smyth who worked very hard to get the service open again.

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

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 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 to receive it.

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


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:

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




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
▪️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:

For further details please contact our Early Years Specialist – Olive Buckeridge by email at

#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 or Andrea McArdle 086-3709831