Online Adult Learning Opportunities for Summer 2021

Down Syndrome Ireland Louth Meath Branch in conjunction with the LMETB are offering online Art & Crafts Classes and online Cookery Classes to our Adult members.

Art & Craft Classes start  AUG 4/5TH and the Cookery Classes will be starting soon.  

To book places, please contact: Mike Egan or 085 8618866.

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.


The Cookery Classes start April 15th 2021.

The Computer Classes are starting soon.

To book places, please contact: Mike Egan by email or Phone 085.8618866.

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 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.  

Free Online Classes in Art and Computer Skills

The branch is very much aware that many of our adult members are missing out on learning opportunities because of the closure of services and classes due to the COVID-19 situation.

We are delighted to have been allocated tuition hours resources from the Louth Community Education Service of the Louth Meath Education and Training Board.

These tuition hours will support online classes in the areas of Art and Computer Skills. The two courses will be tailored to the needs of our members to help them to maintain/develop their artistic and computer skills over the next two months.

The classes will be delivered online to a class of approx’ 6-10 students. This will allow for a good level of interaction between the tutors and the students. We have had some very good feedback recently from members engaging in online classes and meetings.

We expect that this will form an increasingly important part of educational provision in the future and we invite our adult members to give it a try through these classes. This is a great opportunity especially if you haven’t done online classes before.

If you are interested in a class in Art or Computer Skills(or both), please email your contact details to:
Mike Egan at or call 085.8618866.

The weekly class times will be arranged to best suit the availability of the students and tutors. Give Mike a call if you have any questions

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.

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.

Regional Advisory Council

The Regional Advisory Council held its first formal meeting on September 4th in Conyngham Arms hotel Slane.

The newly formed 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 developed over a number of years, the RAC offers an opportunity for the branch members to have a structured input into the plans and activities of DSI in the region.

Speaking at the first meeting of the Council, Louth Meath branch chairperson Paul Radford said:

“We are proud to be the first branch in Ireland to commence the Regional Advisory Council initiative. We have known for a long time, as both parents and committee members, that people with Down syndrome have their own voice and opinion about how they want to live their lives. The RAC will ensure that those voices are listened to, those opinions respected and acted upon.”

Council facilitator and DSI National Advocacy Officer, Helena Connors said:

“We are delighted that the Louth Meath branch are taking the lead on the RAC programme and we hope to follow suit with other branches across our countrywide membership. Over the next two years, the Regional Advisory Council members will engage in structured self-advocacy and organisational skills training that will enable them to be confident and effective self-advocates. They will be electing their own officers and speaking out on the issues of concern to themselves and the communities in which they live. Watch this space!”

Allyson Maher Helena Connors DSI council ficilitator national advocacy officer , Megan Mc Cormick ,Brendan O’ Shea and Niamh Mc Nally at the newly formed regional advisory council Launch at the Conyngham Arms Slane Photo Jimmy Weldon

Conor O’ Dowd, Fintan Bray,Mike Egan Louth Meath resource officer,Tomas Nally and Cathal Byrne at the newly formed DSI regional advisory council Launch at the Conyngham Arms Slane Photo Jimmy Weldon

Annmarie Whelan, Fintan Bray and Elearnor Murray at the newly formed DSI regional advisory council Launch at the Conyngham Arms Slane Photo Jimmy Weldon

Paul Radford Chairperson, Liam Foley,Helena Connors DSI council ficilitator national advocacy officer, Fintan Bray, Mike Egan DSI Louth , Meath resource officer at the newly formed regional advisory launch at the Conyngham Arms Slane

Education Conference 2019/2020

Down Syndrome Ireland have organised Education Conferences for 2019/2020.

“Managing Behaviour & Transitions for the Student with Down Syndrome”

“Supporting the Child with Down Syndrome in Mainstream Primary School”


Please note: early booking is essential as, due to the high costs involved, the conferences will only go ahead if sufficient numbers are booked. Each Primary, Post-Primary and Special School have also been notified.

Full details and a booking facility for each conference will be available on from September 1st2019.


DSI calls for IEPs to become a legal right and access to revised July Provision scheme

Message from Gary Owens, CEO, Down Syndrome Ireland

DSI calls for IEPs to become a legal right and access to revised July Provision scheme during meeting with Minister for Education Joe McHugh

Dear Member,

We hope this email finds you well.

As you may be aware, we met with the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh and Department officials to discuss the education needs for children with Down syndrome, including access to July Provision and for Individual Education Plans to be enshrined in law.

The outcome of the recent High Court actions regarding July Provision are confidential but the Department has clarified that the children were not admitted to the programme. We argued for the scheme to be extended to every child with Down syndrome for this year but, according to the Department, this is not possible.

However, the scheme as it stands is currently under review and we are happy to say – following our meetings and ‘Please Don’t Leave Us Behind’ education campaign – Down Syndrome Ireland will be strongly represented in the consultation process, which is due to take place this Autumn. We understand that there will be a needs based approach to the scheme from Summer 2020. We will continue to strongly advocate for all children with Down syndrome who wish to avail of the new scheme to be automatically eligible.

Individual Education Plans

At the meeting, we continued to call for Individual Education Plans to become a legal requirement for all children who need them, including for children with Down syndrome.

Effective planning is key to supporting a child with Down syndrome to succeed at all stages of their educational journey.

A fully inclusive education is a right, not a privilege. Down Syndrome Ireland has long campaigned for the EPSEN Act 2004 to be fully enacted so that the rights of students with additional educational needs are enshrined in law, rather than depending on encouragement from the Department of Education and Skills and the goodwill of schools and teachers.

Students with Down syndrome were recently reminded that they have no legal right to an Individual Education Plan (IEPs). IEPs are documents that identify children’s special educational needs and set goals to meet those needs. At present, IEPs are not legally required in our school system as the provision requiring IEPs in the EPSEN ACT is not implemented.

Our call comes after Teachers’ Unions the ASTI and TUI advised their members in Autumn 2018 to stop implementing IEPs for students with additional needs, such as those with Down syndrome, due to a lack of funding and adequate training provided to their members.

The answer to a Parliamentary Question about the implementation and resourcing of the EPSEN Act 2004 makes it clear that the Government accepts that the funds needed for its full implementation have not, and will not, be provided. The current Department of Education and Skills’ position seems to be that schools are encouraged to implement large parts of the EPSEN Act without having the necessary resources.

We called for a plan to be initiated immediately to ensure that teachers are resourced and trained to meet the needs of all their students.

Since then, our ‘Please Don’t Leave Us Behind’ campaign has seen us host a briefing for politicians in Leinster House, we have appeared in front of the Joint Oireachtas Education Committee, we have met directly with both Unions and met with the Department of Education and Skills. Still, nothing has changed. We remain deeply disappointed and angered that the education needs of children with intellectual disabilities remains a bargaining tool between Teachers’ Unions and the Department of Education and Skills. Children with Down syndrome are being activity discriminated against. It’s shameful that 15 years after the EPSEN Act was first became law, it has still not been fully enacted.

We continue to call for a plan to be initiated immediately to ensure that teachers are resourced and trained to meet the needs of all their students.

We will keep you posted on our progress.

Thanks and have a lovely weekend.

With very best wishes,

Gary Owens
Down Syndrome Ireland