4 Peak Challenge

A big Thank you to Derek & Ian Primrose for choosing our Branch as part of their fabulous Fundraiser.

If you would like to support the fundraiser for these very worthy causes you can do so online (details below) or alternatively you can contribute in person 🙂

You can donate online via the following GoFundMe page:

All funds raised will be split equally between Nobber Cancer Support Group and DownSyndrome LouthMeath.

Derek and Ian are taking on a bit of a challenge this June to raise much needed funds for two brilliant local charities – Nobber Cancer Support Group and DownSyndrome LouthMeath. They are hiking the highest peak in each province in Ireland in just 48-hours!

As I’m sure many of you are aware, Nobber Cancer Support Group and DownSyndrome LouthMeath both provide much needed support and services to people in our local community. The services and support they make available make a big difference to the lives of those who benefit from them and every donation, no matter how small, helps to enable them to continue to operate. We would be very grateful for your help in making this fundraising effort a big success!!

If you would like to support our fundraiser for these very worthy causes you can do so online (details below) or alternatively you can contribute in person 🙂


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




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: 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/


Down Syndrome Ireland are looking for a young adult with Down Syndrome who is over 18 years and a Meath GAA fan to attend and work on a voluntary basis in Croke Park on Sunday 21st July 2019. This is an opportunity to showcase the ability of people with Down syndrome.

The person with Down Syndrome will need to be able to deal with big crowds and not get overwhelmed or nervous when working in the grounds of Croke Park at the match on Sun 21st July. They will be there all day with the grounds man. They will be standing a lot but will of course get rests and staff members from DSI will be there to look after them.

There will be one person with Down Syndrome from each county represented on the day, Donegal, Kerry, Meath and Mayo.

Each person with Down Syndrome will be able to bring 1 Guardian as Down Syndrome Ireland have been allocated a limited amount of seats.

If you are interested and would like to volunteer please reply back directly to email secretarydslm@gmail.com. The position will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

If you need more information before you commit, please contact Kathleen Fitzsimons in DSI on Kathleen@downsyndrome.ie or phone 01 5632456.

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

DSI AGM 2019

This year’s Conference and AGM is being hosted by our Louth Meath branch and will take place in the beautiful historic town of Trim County Meath on Saturday the 29th in the wonderful setting of the Trim Castle Hotel.

We look forward to seeing a lot of new and familiar faces at this year’s event.

As well as our AGM, we also have lots of workshops taking place throughout the conference on topics that will be of interest to all of our members and their families. We ask that you please book your place in advance so we can accommodate as many members as possible throughout the weekend. Please note that all places and programmes must be booked by June 20th – thank you and see you there!


Branch AGM 2019

The Branch AGM will take place in Dundalk on 29th April 2019 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk at 8pm.

Gary Owens DSI’s Chief Executive Officer will address the meeting where he will outline what is going on in DSI and you will get a chance to meet Gary and ask any questions that you have.

Mike Egan our Regional Resource Officer will also address our meeting to update our members about his role.


Lots of Socks

Down Syndrome Louth Meath invites everyone to wear LOTS OF SOCKS on Thursday 21st March 2019 to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) to raise awareness on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).

We want to get people talking about WDSD on 21st March.

We can do this if we all wear socks…BUT NOT JUST ANY SOCKS…brightly coloured socks, long socks, printed socks, and 1 sock…maybe even 3 socks for 3 chromosomes. If you don’t normally wear socks then wear them.

The meaning behind wearing Odd socks is that

We are all different, We are all human, We are all the same.

On 21st March 2019, wear LOTS OF SOCKS and invite all your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.