Empowering our children
We support children with Down syndrome to develop key communication and life skills, enabling them to maximise their potential.
Small groups (0-10)
“Before finding DEx, we felt quite alone in this unfamiliar world of Down syndrome that had been presented to us as a scary, negative place to be. As soon as we started coming to DEx, we felt that we had found our community, instantly feeling supported and hopeful for the future.”
Strategies for success: We enable children to understand their own learning style and strengths so they can articulate what they need to succeed in therapy and in their daily lives. We say, ‘What is going to help you here, G?’ and G says, ‘I need to see it again’.
“One of the things O really struggles with is short term memory, so the memory training he receives at DEx is hugely beneficial for his development and what he can achieve at school.”
In Tweens, we build on communication, social and life skills and start to prepare our young people for becoming more independent. We use a well-researched intervention called smiLE Therapy, which involves breaking down skills into small parts, videoing children’s performance in these skills, enabling them to evaluate themselves and improve on their skills. We have practised going to the doctor’s surgery independently, going to the post office and asking for directions. These are crucial skills for our young people to develop in order to encourage independence, safety and confidence when out in the community.
Stay & play (0-5)
“DEx has given me and my child a place to identify with and feel proud of being who we are. When we meet other children with similar interests yet different abilities we just fit in and are one big family.”
Often families’ first experience of meeting other children with Down syndrome, our Stay & Play sessions complement our therapy sessions by providing a relaxed and friendly area for pre-school children and their carers to socialise, support each other and learn new skills, including Makaton (a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate), music therapy, and learn-through-play activities. The emotional support and sharing experiences and information with other parents and carers is hugely valued. Families on the waiting list for therapies are invited to Stay & Play until a therapy group vacancy is available.
“DEx has been a safe haven for both E and I. It has been remarkable for E’s confidence, giving him a place to practise talking and express himself musically too. It has helped to build his self-esteem.”
Dexstars is the older children’s more sophisticated version of Stay & Play. It is a place where parents can socialise with other families of children with Down syndrome, reducing the feeling of isolation and building life-long support networks. A place where children can do different activities each week, such as music, sandwich making, exercise and health care – always stimulating speech, language and cognition, as well as social skills, in an informal setting. Families value the space for informal peer support and information, particularly around key milestones such as the transition to secondary school and activities of daily living such as independent toileting and dressing.