The education and welfare of Down syndrome students worldwide could be improved by guidelines developed by a University of Queensland researcher.
UQ Down Syndrome Research Program Director Dr Rhonda Faragher will present Education Guidelines for Learners with Down syndrome at a conference at the United Nations in New York on World Down Syndrome Day next week.
Dr Faragher led an international team that developed the guidelines, which aim to help all involved in the education of those with Down syndrome, from early childhood into adulthood.
“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 will involve a range of experts, including people with Down syndrome, supporters, advocates, educators and government and UN officials.
“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,” she said.
“Inclusive education can be a challenge in any context, and yet it is well-known from research that learners with Down syndrome do best when taught alongside their classmates in regular classrooms.”
World Down Syndrome Day has been observed by the United Nations since 2012.
UQ is home to the Down Syndrome Research Program – believed to be the oldest and most complete study of its kind.