Parent and Toddler Group

We are delighted that our new Parent & Toddler Group continues to run. The group is open to children with Down Syndrome aged 5 months to school-going age.
When:   Thursday Mornings (fortnightly)
Time:     10 to 11:30 am
Where:   Duleek Bellewstown & District Community Facility (Navan Rd, Balsaran, Duleek, A92 F2HN, CO. Meath)
Our next groups will be on Thursday 6th of July and Thursday 20th of July.
The group is run fortnightly and is facilitated by Louise Tully.

Below are some of the different activities that Louise will aim to deliver:
  • Lots of Lámh – Louise will be providing each parent who is interested in learning Lámh signs with specific signs for each session.
  • Language activities – Louise will be introducing See and Learn sounds and vocabulary activities for each child and work with them on which level they need to start with and work on their individual levels.
  • Messy play – Louise will have a targeted messy play activity for each session with lots of opportunities for the kids to experiment and play with lots of different textures.
  • Music and song – Louise will have a structured nursery rhyme to work on each session, with signs included as well as providing lots of opportunities for music and songs.
  • Gross and fine motor – Louise will be working on setting up some areas for tabletop activities like puzzles, ring stackers and pink pig etc.
Each session costs €5 or €10 for the next block of 2 sessions (6th July, & 20th July) to be paid directly into our Bank Account
AIB Grafton Street
Sort Code 93 10 47
A/c 49363006
IBAN: IE33 AIBK 9310 4749 3630 06
Account Name: Down Syndrome Louth Meath
Please include your name and label it Toddler Group.
To register your interest, please email Brendan Stephenson; at or phone/text Brendan at 083 8972044.

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

Parent/Toddler Group by Olive Buckeridge for our Branch

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

The first Session will be on Tuesday 19th May at 11.15. 

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. 

Olive will send a link with a Password each week to the Branch and we will send it on to our Parents and Toddlers.

Activities to Promote Communication

These activities are designed to promote your baby/toddler/child’s communication development. These activities can be easily carried out at home as each activity is nice and short. You can do one, some or all of these activities. You may choose to do them daily or weekly, it’s completely up to you!

All you need for these activities is a little bit of space and toys/objects that you have in the house.

Activities to Promote Communication 1

We are going to focus on eye-contact, naming, action songs, cause and effect and teaching some important songs – “Hello song” and “The Clean-up Song”.

Activities to Promote Communication 2

If you are still working through the previous activities, don’t worry, you can start the following activities when your child is ready. You can also start these activities if you need a change and are feeling demotivated! Follow your child’s lead.

Activities to Promote Communication 3

This week we will be focusing on positive interaction through song, taking turns, cooking and much more.