Online course: Managing behavior difficulties for children with Down syndrome

This online course offers parents and educators practical strategies for changing problem behavior and avoiding future behavior difficulties. It provides step-by-step guidance on how to implement effective strategies to change problem behaviors and encourage positive behaviors for children with Down syndrome.

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Some children and teenagers with Down syndrome develop behaviors that can disrupt their learning and social opportunities and that cause challenges and stress at school and at home. Problem behaviors can be changed but may need different approaches to those that work with other children. This course aims to support parents and educators to implement individualized plans to improve behavior and to secure new positive behaviors.

The course is led and supported by Professor Sue Buckley OBE, an internationally recognized expert in development and education for children with Down syndrome. The course includes five modules explaining how to assess the child's needs, develop an effective strategy for changing behavior, teach new positive behaviors and move forward. Handouts include practical worksheets to support the implementation of a successful behavior change program.

The course includes 5 modules, each of which includes a video presentation, handouts and an assessment. The video presentations can be viewed, handouts downloaded and assessments completed at any time. In addition, course participants can contact DSE tutors to ask questions and seek additional advice. Course participants should plan to spend a minimum of 8 hours studying the course. Further time will be required to apply the guidance, plan and implement the behavior change program.

The course is accessible to participants in any country. A computer with a modern web browser and a reliable Internet connection sufficient for streaming videos is required.

A photograph of school children, including children with Down syndrome

Feedback from participants on our previous courses

"Many thanks for such an awesome, well presented, very informative course. All 10 modules have been very interesting and delivered in a most positive and professional manner by Sue. There was a great balance of research and real life stories bringing an in-depth meaning to the reality of Down syndrome"
Early Intervention Teacher, New Zealand
" It is absolutely fantastic and my husband and I have learned more from this course than we have in all the 6 years of therapies and Early Interventions we have done for our son "
Parent, USA


The following modules are included in this course:

  • Getting started - what is the problem behavior? In this module we take a brief look at what we know about the pattern of behavior difficulties that may occur and why. We then explain the principles of effective positive behavior change and why you will need a team approach at home and at school. We help you to get started by observing the behavior in enough detail to help you understand why it may be happening. Your homework is to keep an observation diary for two weeks.
  • Why do we think it is happening? In this module, we provide examples of the types of behaviors you may be dealing with and consider the range of possible 'causes' for the behavior. This will lead you to collect some more information about your individual child, their particular needs and any family or school factors that may be relevant. Your homework is to complete a questionnaire to collect this information.
  • How can we change the behavior? We describe some effective strategies and provide examples of plans to tackle a range of behaviors for children and young people of different ages and abilities. Examples include behaviors that may be occurring at home or at school in the day time and sleep difficulties. They should provide you with the strategies you need. Your homework is to summarize the key information you have now collected ready to write a behavior change plan.
  • How do we implement the plan and monitor progress? We review the key steps to developing and writing a behavior change plan. We then discuss how to ensure everyone is confident and ready to implement the plan consistently. We provide guidance on how to monitor the plan to see if it working and revise it if necessary. Your homework is to write the plan, decide how to review progress with your team and get the plan started.
  • How do we prevent future difficulties? By the time you get to this module you should be confident about managing behavior. You will know that many factors influence an individual child or young person's behavior. We will ask you to think ahead and make a list of the positive strategies you need to keep in place to help your young person to continue to learn in all areas of their development and to manage their behavior.


This course features:

  • Video presentations - lasting between 30 and 50 minutes, available to course participants for streaming on-demand
  • Handouts - download copies of the slides in the presentation to work through
  • Assessments - check your learning with online assessments
  • 'In practice' checklists - guidance and checklists to assist course participants to identify how to apply what they have learned for each child that they work with
  • Further reading, references and resources - references to research discussed in each module, together with further reading and recommended resources are provided for those wishing to develop their knowledge further
  • Certificates of achievement - certificates for participants who successfully complete each module and assessment in this course

Course duration

We recommend setting aside around 90 minutes per week for 5 weeks to study this course. Further time will be required to apply the guidance, plan and implement the behavior change program.

Access to the course is available as a monthly subscription or a single purchase of 12 months.

Participants must successfully complete each module and all assessments to receive a certificate of achievement.

How to book

You can purchase access to our online courses via our subscriptions website .

Help with online courses and subscriptions

Please visit our support site for additional help with online courses and subscriptions.