Online Adult Learning Opportunities Spring 2021

Online Adult Learning Opportunities Spring 2021 from Louth and Meath Education and Training Board and Down Syndrome Louth Meath Branch.

ONLINE COOKERY CLASSES & ONLINE COMPUTER SKILLS CLASSES

The Cookery Classes start April 15th 2021.

The Computer Classes are starting soon.

To book places, please contact: Mike Egan by email mike@downsyndrome.ie or Phone 085.8618866.

Colouring competition in Celebration of World Down Syndrome Day

We have organised a colouring competition for all our members. We would love to see as many colourful socks and artistic designs as possible.


Every entry will be displayed on the branches Social Media Pages, for the world to see the amazing talent of our members.

There will be 5 Categories: 
0 – 4 years
5 – 8 years
9 – 13 years
14 – 16 years
17 years and over

A winner for each category will be chosen by our judge Debra Ann Woods.


Each winner will receive a €50 voucher for the Arts & Hobby Shop.

The lucky winners will be announced on 21st March 2021.

Entries can be sent by email by sending a PDF or a photo with the subject line WDSD Colouring Competition to secretarydslm@gmail.com by 14th March 2021.


You can colour whichever sheet is most suitable to your ability (or design your own with a Sock theme) but you will be judged in whichever category you fit into by age. 

Have fun & get colouring

Fun With Numbers

Fun with Numbers is a fun way of working with numbers through games and creative learning aids. It is a light-hearted way of learning basic number skills like counting, adding, and subtraction, incorporating concepts of division and multiplication. Fun with Numbers presents opportunities for using life skills like following a recipe using measurements and time, along with planning journeys and using money.

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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. 

There are 2 sessions per week on Mondays and Thursdays.

The times of the sessions are as follows:

Junior Group Ages  8-11. 2pm Mondays
Senior Group Ages 12 and up. 4pm Thursdays

The thought is that Deirdre will target older children on a Thursday and younger children on a Monday, however all children are welcome to participate in either or both sessions each week if you think the content is suitable.


Down Syndrome Louth Meath will cover the cost of the sessions, 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 have set up a WhatsApp group for the groups, 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 contact Brendan on secretarydslm@gmail.com if you would like your child to take part with the following details.

Child Name:

Parents name:

Telephone number for WhatsApp Group:Child’s age:

Email Address:

  • If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.  

DSILMB Christmas Newsletter

Dear Members

As a unique and strange 2020 draws to a close we wish to write to you to let you know what is going on in the Branch and how we have adapted to the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is hard to believe that this time last year we did not know anything about the Corona Virus and how it would affect us.

  • Regional Advisory Council: RAC is an independent self-advocacy group for adults with Down syndrome in the North East area.  The 14-member council, consisting primarily of people from Meath and Louth but also some from Westmeath and Cavan, is the first of its kind within DSI’s 25 branches.  Based on the successful National Advisory Council model, the RAC offers an opportunity for the branch members to have a structured input into the plans and activities of the Louth Meath and other local branches. The RAC has continued to meet online though was initially put on hold due to COVID-19
  • Latch On Adult Literacy & Work Skills Programme: The Latch On Adult Literacy and Work Skills Programme was put on hold during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The Programme has now resumed on-line with 13 students taking part.
  • Funding Scheme: The funding scheme is available again in 2020. The Funding Scheme will cover therapies, and sports / recreational activities that will benefit members with Down syndrome. Application Forms have been emailed to members and more details can be found on our Webpage https://dsilmb.ie/more/funding-scheme/. There are some Terms and Conditions that apply.
  • Early Intervention Programme: The early Intervention Programme was suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions in March but resumed in September with new Protocols, Risk Assessments and Procedures in place. We would like to thank our Early Intervention Programme Subcommittee and especially Andrea, Ann, and Rebecca who put in so much hard work over the summer so that the Programme could resume safely.
  • Tons of Fun Tots: was cancelled in March and will resume next year if and when it is safe to do so
  • Speech & Drama/Social Skills Club: The Speech and Drama Club was initially suspended in Drogheda but has now resumed for weekly sessions online. We would like to Thank Audrey Jackson for her fab work in keeping the Club going as well as Zoe Finegan O’Toole our Drama teacher. The Club in Navan has been suspended but we hope to have it back in the New Year.
  • Saturday Club: The Saturday club was also put on hold due to the current restrictions in March but hopefully will resume in in the new year when it is safe to do so
  • Social Events: We held a successful Valentine’s disco in February but then our other plans were put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions in March. We had a virtual Christmas party on Sunday 13th of December. A big Thank you to Liz Murray for organizing all our Disco’s etc. and to Shay Casserley, Linda Farrell for hosting our Virtual Christmas Party and to their assistants on the night Philip Connolly and Stephen Farrell. Instead of a Children’s Christmas Party we hosted a well-attended Virtual Magic Show on Sunday 13th December. A big Thank you to Rebecca Smith for organizing the Magic Show.
  • Family Fun Day: Unfortunately, our annual Family Fun Day had to be cancelled this year due to COVID-19.
  • Sibshops: We had held 2 Sibshops in January and February before the Sibshops had to be put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions in March. We had two virtual Sibshops in December which seemed to go very well, and we shall run more Sibshops in the new year
  • Workshops: We Held a workshop in conjunction with Special Hands Activity Club where we brought May Gannon to talk about Transition to Adulthood on 5th March 2020 in the Ardboyne Hotel Navan 7.30.
  • Branch AGM: We had our branch AGM in September virtually as we had to cancel the physical AGM in April due to COVID-19. We would like to pay a big thank you to our Branch Committee for volunteering to help run the branch and thank them for all their hard work.
  • Masks & Sanitiser: The branch distributed free homemade Masks which were supplied by East Coast Mask Makers and distributed Hand Sanitiser which was donated by Listoke distilleries. A big Thank you to East Coast Mask Makers and Listoke distilleries for their kind donation
  • Members volunteering with DSI: Our Chairman Paul Radford was elected to the Board of DSI as one of the Leinster Reps. Paula McDonagh was elected as the Branch Rep on the National Council. A Big Thank you to Paul and Paula for volunteering.
  • Community Education from the LMETB: Mike Egan our Regional Resource Officer has organised Community Education Courses for our Adult members. 4 Courses have already taken place in Arts & Crafts and Computers and funding has been granted for 2 more in the New Year.
  • Fun with Numbers: a fun way of working with numbers through games and creative learning aids was organised in November for 2 Groups. It is a light-hearted way of learning basic number skills like counting, adding, and subtraction, incorporating concepts of division and multiplication. Fun with Numbers presents opportunities for using life skills like following a recipe using measurements and time, along with planning journeys and using money. A big Thank you to Deirdre Myler for providing the Course as well as Rebecca Smith for organising the Course.
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Campaign: We ran a Down Syndrome awareness campaign during the month of October on our Social Media Channels to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month. We featured at least one of our members to celebrate our members for being themselves.
  • Speech Practice and Parent & Toddler Groups: We helped facilitate Speech Practice and Parent & Toddler groups led by Olive Buckeridge online.
  • Regional Resource Officer: Our Regional Resource Officer, Mike Egan is here to help people with Down syndrome and their family’s access support locally. Regional Resource Officers provide vital support and a point of contact for new parents as well as families who need help and support at local level at every life stage. Mike can be contacted at 085 8618866 or mike@downsyndrome.ie
  • Fundraising: This year has been exceedingly difficult for fundraising for many charities and organisations including ourselves. We had to cancel two of our main funding initiatives for 2020. The Rock your Socks fundraiser which is based around World Down Syndrome Day had to be cancelled at the very last moment. A big Thank you to Yvonne O’Connor who did so much work organising and it is such a pity that all that work was in vain. We hope to reorganize this fundraiser for WDSD 2021.

We also had to cancel the HOEDOWN which was also in conjunction with WDSD. We would like to thank Ellie Cosgrove for organising as well as all the fabulous Artists that were going to perform.

We would also like to thank all who organised fundraisers for the Branch especially around events such as the Mini Marathon, Dublin City Marathon, Birthdays etc. and all those who made donations.

We have a Branch Fundraising page on iDonate which can be used by members to set up events to raise money for the Branch

In conclusion we would like to take this opportunity to thank our Branch Committee who work tirelessly for our Branch and its Members. We would also like to thank all our members and their families for all their support during this particularly challenging year and to wish you all a very Safe, Healthy and Happy Christmas and a very Happy and Safe New Year.

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 secretarydslm@gmail.com.

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 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.