Education professionals

Why is inclusion so important?

Why is inclusion so important?
All families have the option to select a well supported placement in a local, inclusive mainstream school.
All published and international research demonstrates that not only do Students with Down syndrome do better in inclusive settings, but all other students, teachers and the community benefit from their inclusion in the general classroom.
Students with Down syndrome who are educated in mainstream schools:
• Have higher academic achievements in reading writing and mathematics
• Have better social inclusion (more friends, more activities)
• Are more likely to gain (open) employment when they leave school
The right to an inclusive mainstream education is currently supported by the following legislation and standards:

• Disability Discrimination Act 1992
• DEECD Victoria Disability Action Plan 2013-2016
• Disability Standards for Education 2005

With the right accommodations and dedicated teachers, students with intellectual disabilities can thrive in mainstream classrooms.

The Down Syndrome Victoria Down Syndrome Inclusion Support Service provides school leadership and teachers with specialist information that assists school to deliver appropriate pedagogy and curriculum for students at mainstream government preschool or schools.

References and Links: 

Why include? - by Bob Jackson (

‘Children with Disabilities Benefit from Classroom Inclusion’

10 Keys to Successful Inclusion

CEA article ‘School Inclusion’ 

DS Ed International website 

Newport Gardens Primary School on Celebrating Diversity

Education Professional Day 

Teaching Students with Down syndrome Workshop 2015 Resources

We're here to help....Down Syndrome Victoria conducts an annual Education┬áProfessional Day early each year. Topics at our one day workshop vary each year but may include an overview of Down syndrome, learner profile, behaviour etc and guest speakers on various topics. The 2015 workshop was held on March 11.

Down Syndrome Inclusion Support Service (DSISS)

Down Syndrome Victoria offers a DSISS for students with Down syndrome, their schools and families. Click here for more information.

DSISS Award - Down Syndrome Victoria's DSISS was recognised at the 2013 National Disability Awards. Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield presented Ian Cook from Down Syndrome Victoria with the Excellence in Improving Education Outcomes Award in recognition of the Inclusion Support Service. 

Information for classmates

Engaging a speaker from Down Syndrome Victoria will help provide staff and students with a deeper understanding of life with Down syndrome and how to improve communication and relationships within the school community.

“The talk was very interesting. I know I learnt a few things and I could tell from the girls’ sighs and questions that they were interested and listening.
I would like to have heard about some of the jobs that people with Down Syndrome are able to do. The speaker spoke about this a little”. 

“Speaking with other staff at morning tea about this was interesting as many of them said they were never sure how to respond or act or what to say, so we were able to pass on some of the things that were mentioned in the talk”.

“The presenter had a good mix of facts and personal experience but as she said, she is not a medical expert and couldn’t possible predict and answer all questions that the girls had.
I felt it was very worthwhile having someone from Down Syndrome Victoria come and speak and am surprised it does not happen more often. I strongly believe we should try to raise people’s awareness of these types of things. Thankyou so much”. – Science Teacher Fintona Girls Grammar (March 2015)
Down Syndrome Victoria has also developed some 'self-run' PowerPoint presentations which can be used with staff and/or students to give an overview of Down syndrome. They are used like a book. There are four versions to cover all education levels.
We also have ideas for diversity activities, books, brochures and other handouts that can be useful when explaining Down syndrome to students.
Contact us for more information.


Boardmaker is a communication and learning tool containing Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) to enhance learning and communication for individuals with intellectual disability. Boardmaker resources are available to members from Down Syndrome Victoria.

Childcare, playgroups and kindergarten

Children with Down syndrome, like all children, need to form friendships, explore their environments, to gain confidence and self esteem, and to learn.
Childcare and Kindergarten provide excellent preparation for the integration of children with Down syndrome into local schools. Along with other information on this page, you may like to see our Childcare, playgroups and kindergarten page under the 'for families>early years' tab.

School aged children with Down syndrome

Our information professionals have compiled information on School age children with Down syndrome suitable for professionals and families alike.