Australian research paves the way for improved welfare for Down Syndrome children
The education and welfare of children around the world with trisomy 21, also known as Down Syndrome, could be improved by implementing a series of guidelines developed by an Australian researcher from the University of Queensland (UQ).
Dr Rhonda Faragher, the director of the UQ Down Syndrome Research Program, will present her work, titled Education Guidelines for Learners with Down Syndrome at a conference to be held in New York at the United Nations today, in line with World Down Syndrome Day.
An international team, led by Dr Faragher, developed the guidelines, with the aim of assisting adults who support children and young adults with Down Syndrome throughout their educational journey, from early childhood onward.
“The guidelines draw on research, policy and practice evidence to offer support to those involved in education – from the level of national policy down to the individual level,” Dr Faragher said.
“They also acknowledge the variety of education contexts around the world, particularly the differences between low, middle and high-income countries.”
The event in New York, where Dr Faragher will present the guidelines, will involve a range of experts, including those living with Down Syndrome, supporters, advocates, educators, government and United Nations officials.
With contemporary research showing that those with Down Syndrome learn best when taught alongside their peers in inclusive environments, Dr Faragher said her research aimed to assist those educating and caring for children and young adults with Down Syndrome to reduce barriers to inclusion, saying: “Our aim is to reach out to key stakeholders to ensure they understand how to provide opportunities on a fully inclusive basis, and encourage them to disseminate this message to bring about change.”
World Down Syndrome Day has been observed by the United Nations since 2012. More information about World Down Syndrome Day can be found here.
UQ hosts the Down Syndrome Research Program, believed to be the oldest and most complete study of its kind, More information about the program is available here.