DSIEF aims to be at the forefront of developmental and educational support for children with Down Syndrome in the Western Cape. These projects are developed synergistically to evolve from raising awareness to supporting implementation as follows:
- First Contact – creates and raises awareness regarding the opportunities and support available for parents of newborn children with Down Syndrome.
- Upside Down – offers workshops or 1:1 meetings to share information and stimulation techniques aimed at parents with very young children with Down Syndrome.
- Early Impact – pilot programme where children withDown Syndrome are included in mainstream preprimary settings and supported by an Individual Education Plan (IEP) as well as qualified a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) to ensure maximum learning, progress and inclusion.
First contact is an outreach programme run by DSIEF whereby new parents of children with Down Syndome are offered support and advice free of charge through leaflets at hospitals and clinics, telephone and house visits. This outreach programme aims to create awareness for parents and caregivers in the community as to the opportunities for inclusive education and the support available via DSIEF.
Parents have an enormous influence on the abilities, behaviour and social network of their children. Parents are their child’s first and most important teacher. DSIEF hopes to ensure that parents (as well as families, caregivers, and healthcare professionals) understand that it is essential to enroll the child into an early intervention programme.
Early Impact – Preprimary
In 2011, DSIEF in partnership with Noah’s Ark preschool in Cape Town, launched a pilot inclusive education project called the Early Impact programme. By 2014, the programme supported 8 children across four classes aged between 3-6 years.