Helping children with Down Syndrome find their voice.
Chattertots is a small charity providing early intervention for children with Down Syndrome in Berkshire. We launched in 2015 with just 3 families. By 2021, we had grown to support over 30 families. Speech and language is the biggest hurdle for children with Down Syndrome. Early speech and language intervention helps children master these essential life skills.
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WHAT DOES CHATTERTOTS DO?
We offer a range of services to local families using evidence-proven methods to give them the best possible start. This includes:
• Weekly speech and language therapy for pre-school children.
• Half-termly visits from an educational consultant to schools to provide guidance on specific teaching and behavioural strategies for children with Down Syndrome.
• Providing independent reports into the EHCP process to secure better provision at school.
• Sending children with a “starter box” to school with specific educational resources.
• Running a summer school with intensive individual therapy.
• Organising fun bespoke events with additional support eg horse riding, trampolining, etc.
WHAT IS DOWN SYNDROME?
Down Syndrome is a genetic condition caused by having 3 copies of the 21st chromosome (most people have 2).
The impacts of Down Syndrome can vary from person to person but can include a learning disability, muscle weakness, hypermobility, reduced sight and hearing as well as some health issues.
People with Down Syndrome can face challenges in many areas of life. For most, speech is the greatest challenge. Speech requires intricate co-ordinated movement of many muscles in the lips, cheeks and tongue.
“This challenge, in addition to learning difficulties, and hearing difficulties makes speaking with clarity difficult to achieve.”
Until the 1980s, people with Down Syndrome were considered unteachable. Poor conditions meant that the life expectancy of someone with Down Syndrome was just 25 at that time.
However, today, we understand much more about the strengths of people with Down Syndrome and how to bring out their potential. Many children are educated in mainstream provision, and many go on to live independently and have jobs. With the right support, people with Down Syndrome can achieve incredible things.
"James joined Chattertots at 12 months old and has been with them for 7 years. Back then he practised chewy tubes to strengthen muscles, phonics, Makaton signing which improved his skills and knew more than 300 signs by age 2. When James started mainstream Primary he knew all his phonics, numbers up to 20, colours and could form short sentences, all in large part thanks to the weekly therapy he received from Chattertots."