Moving on to Secondary School can be a difficult time for a lot of children and children with Downs Syndrome are no different. Leaving the familiar surroundings of your primary school, your friends, teachers and all that you know can be a very daunting experience.
The majority of children with Downs Syndrome attend ‘mainstream’ primary education, however only a very small percentage are then able to transition to mainstream secondary education.
As a child with Downs Syndrome matures and moves into adolescence, life skills, self care and independence become more important that some more traditional subjects which would be taught in a mainstream environment. This is one of the reasons many families decide that the ‘Special Needs School’ is a better choice as these ‘life lessons’ are taught as part of the curriculum and as the child progresses through school, this becomes more and more relevant.
This photo shows one of our members on his first day at Secondary School! Good Luck!
Siblings have a HUGE part to play in the development of someone with Downs Syndrome – not only do they make great role models but they also offer unconditional love, affection and support.
Friends are also important and as a child with Downs Syndrome moves through school it is important for them to have friends who enjoy their company and want to be with them because of who they are – not because they have Downs Syndrome and need their help or sympathy.
Children, although inquisitive and curious are usually very accepting of difference and hopefully by being around those with Downs Syndrome will make them realise that ‘difference’ is often a great thing and that actually people with Downs Syndrome are actually not that ‘different’ #morealikethandifferent
Second week back for most and the chance to get back into the swing of routine – something the majority of children with Downs Syndrome need in their lives.
Whilst the break from school is usually a welcome relief for most children, those with Downs Syndrome sometimes take a while to adjust and find it unsettling not to be in the school routine. This is the same once school re-commences.
Be patient – take a deep breath and you will be fine.
Another one of our little Chatterboxes on his first day back at school.
Its that time of year again when our small people, who we’ve kind of got used to having around us all Summer, venture off back to school. Our little Chatterboxes are no different.
We thought you might like to see a few pictures of us on our First Day back.
21st March 2018 is a VERY important date in our calendar – World Downs Syndrome Day!
This is an event, now Internationally recognised by the United Nations and celebrated around the Globe. This year, the focus is for people with Downs Syndrome to help society to realise what value they bring to their local community. People with Downs Syndrome can bring so much to society, yet many are not given the opportunity to do so.
We encourage you to wear ‘different’ socks on 21st March, to signify that everyone is different, not just those with Downs Syndrome (or any other disability). Changing perceptions is a slow burner, however by starting with something simple like wearing different socks, this might just get people talking ….. as this is a great thing!
Further information about WDSD 2018 can be found here : WDSD2018
What does Chatterbox do?
The main purpose of Chatterbox is to ensure our children receive regular, specifically tailored speech therapy (SALT), within the school setting from expert Speech Therapists. Unfortunately, the NHS do not have the resources to provide the regular SALT to our children so Chatterbox was borne out of necessity and after 15 years in existence, is still working hard to ensure it continues to deliver first class speech therapy.
We work with a company called Symbol who come into school each week and work with the child (and his / her Teaching Assistant) on a one to one basis. Very often the therapy is set out to mirror what that child is learning in class that term, or it could be that the child has a specific speech need that needs focusing on. The Therapist works with a number of resources (often including games, puzzles, stories, reading, writing etc) to engage the child, keep and maintain their interest and ensure they are constantly being challenged as well as having fun! It is important that the child’s TA accompanies the child on each session so that what is learnt can be used back in the classroom.
The same Speech Therapist sees the same child so a good relationship is built up, allowing the Therapist to quickly pick up on signals that the child is loosing interest or finding something too easy / difficult.
The majority of children with Downs Syndrome will require some level of SALT intervention throughout their school life so the work that Chatterbox does is incredibly important.
Now that you know all about Chatterbox, we thought it about time that we introduced you to our VIC’s (very important Chatterboxes!).
My name is Archie, I am 7 years old. I live with my Mummy and Daddy in Windsor. I have 2 cats (Pippin & Waffles) which I quite like, but don’t like when they jump on me while I am on my ipad!
My ipad is probably my favourite thing in the World, as well as my puppet, Dylan, who comes everywhere with me, even to school.
I go to a mainstream primary school and have a lovely Teaching Assistant called Mrs Wellstead. I have lots of friends at school and lots of nice teachers too. My favourite part of the day is lunchtime, because I love food. My favourite food is sausages, jacket potatoes, bread and chocolate. I don’t like biscuits of rice crispies because I don’t like the texture in my mouth – it feels horrible and I have to spit it out.
I also like dancing and horse riding, which I am getting better at and now only need 1 helper (I used to need 2). I am hoping I can enter some competitions soon. I also love Justin Fletcher / Mr Tumble.
This is me at horse riding (my horse is called Forrester)
I LOVE this picture – for many reasons.
The first is just because its gorgeous. The models are pretty cute too. The setting (Cliveden, Berkshire) is simply stunning and the photographic skills (and patience) of the lovely Tasha from (Ikon Works Photography) were amazing.
This was one of the images we used for a fundraising calendar a few years ago.
It am always curious about how most (not all!) children with Downs Syndrome love unconditionally. They are not afraid to express their feelings and show their emotions. They are not subject to any prejudice and do not see difference. They have huge reserves of empathy and are very aware of when someone is feeling sad, lonely or upset. They radiate love and kindness and this is a quality to ADORE about Downs Syndrome.
Wow ….. 2018 already!!??!! How did that happen?
We had a really full, busy, fun packed “chatty” year in 2017 and unfortunately our lovely website had to take a side step to allow for all the fundraising.
We have been slightly overwhelmed by the love and support shown by both organisations and individuals alike. Your generosity has allowed us to continue to provide invaluable, one to one speech therapy for our children on an on-going basis.
Cuts within the NHS and Local Government made during 2017 had a devastating effect on some of our children with several receiving a mere 6 hours of speech therapy a year! As delayed speech development is common for children with Downs Syndrome, the fact the the NHS offer such a minimal amount leaves me stuck for words and also grateful to Chatterbox for being able to step in and put our children first, making sure speech therapy is up there – important and critical to development.
With this in mind, we would like to publicly thank the following organisations for their continued support:
The Lions Club of Maidenhead
St Marks Crescent Methodist Church, Maidenhead
Stoke Park Country Club, Hotel & Spa
Heathrow Community Fund
St Pirans School, Maidenhead
All have kindly supported Chatterbox in 2017 and many have become personally interested in the growth and viability of our Group – so for this we THANK YOU!
Sue Arnold – the proud winner of the Mulberry Bag
A massive thank you to everyone who has bought a square to support Chatterbox. We have thoroughly enjoyed this particular fundraiser and it was with delight that Fergus (one of our little Chatterboxes) pulled the lucky ticket last night (see the Chatterbox facebook page for a video of this!).
Your generosity has once again been incredible and we were able to raise enough money to fund almost 1 month’s worth of speech therapy for our entire Group and for this we thank you all very much.