A parent's guide to speech, language and communication for children with Down syndrome

This online course is designed to help parents provide practical support to develop the speech, language and communication skills of young people with Down syndrome from birth to adult life.

The aim of this course is to help parents to understand speech, language and communication development for children and young people with Down syndrome and give them practical guidance on how they can help them to move forward. Babies, children, teenagers and young adults are learning to communicate and to talk all day every day. Parents are the first and best language teachers for all children and have an even more important role to play when their child has speech and language delays. Research suggests that when we show parents how to deliver interventions, the benefits can last longer. Many young people with Down syndrome can continue to improve their speech, language and communication skills into adult years.

Presented and led by Professor Sue Buckley OBE, this course includes five modules. Each module includes a 30-40 minute video presentation which sets out the key information on the topic, and At Home Guidance which sets out the principles for effective interventions and how to design practical activities for an individual child or young person, depending on the stage they have reached. The course materials also include six DSE Language Records for tracking children's progress and selecting teaching targets. The record forms track across the four components that underpin becoming an effective communicator - vocabulary, sentences and grammar, speech and communication. Activities are designed to be easily implemented at home.

Children and young people with Down syndrome vary widely in their needs and rates of progress. Some teenagers will be at the same stage in communication development as some younger children. However, the order in which all children progress and the principles which guide effective interventions are the same at all stages. The course therefore offers guidance covering development from the first months of life to early adult years and considers the needs of those who are most delayed. While the course contains five modules which can be completed in five weeks, the content and materials will support a young person's development over many years. We provide access to the course for a period of 12 months, during which time participants have access to individual support.


The following modules are included in this course:


This course features:

  • Video presentations - lasting between 30 and 40 minutes, available to course participants for streaming on-demand
  • Handouts - download copies of the slides in the presentation to work through
  • 'At Home' Guidance - to help you consider how the information we have discussed in the presentations applies to your baby, child or young person with Down syndrome
  • DSE Language Records - for tracking children's progress and selecting teaching targets
  • Discussion forums - course participants can ask DSE tutors questions and share their experiences in a private online discussion forum
  • Certificate of achievement - certificate for participants who successfully complete the course

Course duration

The course requires a minimum of 20 hours of study in order to complete the practical activities for each module.

We provide access to the course for a period of 12 months.

How to book

You can order via our online store .

Frequently asked questions