Teachers & Schools

Education is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students.  Toronto is the most diverse cities in the world and we respect and value all our differences.

“Inclusive education is central to the achievement of high-quality education for all learners and the development of more inclusive societies.  Inclusion is still thought of in some countries as an approach to serving children with disabilities within general educational settings.  Internationally, however, it is increasingly seen more broadly as a reform that supports and welcomes diversity amongst all learners.”

UNESCO International Conference on Education – 2008

Teachers can be the element which decides whether the learning experience for the child, the family, the classroom and for the whole school will succeed especially for children with Down syndrome.  Believing in your students is critical especially for a student with Down syndrome.  If you believe a student will thrive and prosper in school, they will!

DSAT believes in an educational system which is inclusive for all students, parents, teachers and other individuals within the school community, and they are all welcomed and respected.  We believe that if every student is supported and inspired to succeed with high expectations for learning, they will succeed.

Teachers and Educators will quickly realize that students with Down syndrome have good social skills which can be constructively used to increase their ability to learn.  Tangible demonstrations and activities appeal to students with Down syndrome.  Teach the students directly about timetables, routines and school rules.


Tips for talking about people with Down syndrome


Fact Sheet

Here are some tips teachers should know about Down syndrome:

  • Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, instead of the usual two copies.  This extra chromosome leads to issues that affect both the cognitive and physical ability of an individual.  Although the cognitive abilities will vary, most have mild to moderate cognitive issues as well as some delay in development.
  • Use people-first language.  People with Down syndrome are people first and should always be addressed that way.
  • Explain Down syndrome to your students and to the school.  Talk to your students and invite a parent to come to the class about Down syndrome.
  • Pay attention how you treat your students with Down syndrome.  They should be treated just as other students are treated.  Don’t provide them with special treatment and don’t ignore them either.  Students will look towards you, as a teacher, as how to treat the students with Down syndrome.
  • Find out how your student learns.  Children with Down syndrome CAN AND DO LEARN!  All children learn differently.  As a teacher, find out how your student learns, speak with the parents and work with other professionals to modify the class work to provide them with the opportunity to succeed.
  • Meet with the parents of your students with Down syndrome.  The parents know their child better than anyone.  Communicate with them often.  Don’t wait for the designated IEP meetings to communicate with the parents.  Keep ongoing discussions with the parents by maintaining a communications journal that travels back and forth between the student and teacher.
  • Do not assume your student with Down syndrome cannot do something.  Always start with the belief that they can do something and you may have to break down the task or teach it in a different way.  Perhaps you can pair up your student with Down syndrome with another student who can help.  Peer interaction is a huge motivator for a child with Down syndrome.
  • As a teacher, you will play an important role in your student’s success!  With your student’s unique talents and interests, you can motivate them.  Provide plenty of positive feedback and encouragement

Tips for talking about people with Down syndrome:

  • Down syndrome doesn’t define people.  Do not identify them by their disability first.
  • Down syndrome is a condition not a disease.  People “have” Down syndrome ~ they do not “suffer from” it and are not “afflicted by” it.
  • The use of the word “retarded” in any derogatory context is hurtful and suggests that people with disabilities are not competent.

Do Say

child with Down Syndrome

typically developing or typical

intellectual disability or cognitive disability

Don’t Say

Down syndrome child or Down’s child or Down’s (i.e. he has Down’s)


Mental retardation or retarded