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The Down Syndrome Educational Trust

Consultancy and Training Services

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An introduction to Consultancy and Training Services from
The Down Syndrome Educational Trust

The Down Syndrome Educational Trust exists to promote the development and education of children with Down syndrome. The Trust has been engaged in research, services, training and publishing since 1980 and is internationally respected for its work (formerly as the Portsmouth Down’s Syndrome Trust).

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The Down Syndrome Educational Trust is based at The Sarah Duffen Centre in Portsmouth in southern England. Sarah Duffen is a young woman with Down syndrome and the first research project conducted in Portsmouth was inspired by Leslie Duffen’s account of his daughter’s early progress. This project explored his observation that teaching Sarah to read from the age of 3 years had developed her spoken language skills to a higher level than is usually achieved by a person with Down syndrome with a group of local children. It was the starting point for a continuous programme of research into the learning needs of children with Down syndrome conducted in partnership with the University of Portsmouth over the past 18 years. This research has been used to inform the development and evaluation of intervention programmes to help children with Down syndrome to overcome their learning difficulties.

Experienced staff

The professional staff of the Sarah Duffen Centre currently includes psychologists, a speech and language therapist, and a developmental psychiatrist and medical advisor. The senior staff are recognised nationally and internationally as experts in the needs of children with Down syndrome and their families. They each have many years of experience in this work and one is the parent of an adult daughter with Down syndrome. The Down Syndrome Educational Trust has unique expertise in inclusive education placements, having been supporting such placements in the UK since 1988. The Down Syndrome Educational Trust staff have published widely and are frequently invited to present their work at conferences around the world. The depth and range of their expertise is reflected in the variety of topics covered by our range of workshops.

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Supported by Current Research Knowledge 

The Down Syndrome Educational Trust’s active involvement in scientific research into a variety of psychological, educational and social issues facing children with Down syndrome ensures that our staff are always well-informed. They are all involved in current Trust research projects and they are all active in the international research community. The Down Syndrome Educational Trust organises the UK Down Syndrome Research Forum and hosts annual meetings at the Sarah Duffen Centre. The Down Syndrome Educational Trust hosts international research meetings on Language and Cognitive Development in Down syndrome and publishes the international academic journal Down Syndrome Research and Practice, and Down Syndrome News and Update, an international periodical for parents and practitioners. The Trust is committed to quality information dissemination to ensure that the practical implications of research findings reach the widest possible audience.

Standards and values

The Down Syndrome Educational Trust’s practising staff are all appropriately accredited with their respective professional bodies and all our services meet the standards required by the British Psychological Society. The Trust is committed to promoting the full integration of children with Down syndrome into the life of the communities in which they live, including inclusion in schools.


  • Children with a disability are children first - with the same needs and rights as all children.
  • All children are of equal worth, whatever their disability, race, gender, social class or religion.
  • All children have the right to be fully integrated members of society.
  • All children should be enabled to achieve their full potential.
  • A child’s most valuable asset should be his or her family.
  • All families should have the support and services they need to enable them to promote the well being of all family members within a happy, healthy and secure family group.
  • All children should be enabled to take their place as valued adults and full citizens in our society.
  • All adults with a disability have the right to live with independence, dignity and security and the right to exercise control over their lives.


  • Parents know their own children.
  • Parents and professionals are equal partners.
  • Parents should be empowered to enable them to make informed choices.
  • Professionals have no right to take control from parents.
  • Children and families will receive services of the highest professional standard.
  • All interventions should be based on a thorough understanding of the impact of the child’s specific disabilities on the process of development.
  • All interventions should be scientifically evaluated and clear evidence of outcomes, advantages and disadvantages provided to parents.
  • Parents and practitioners will receive information and advice that is based on a thorough knowledge of current research findings.
  • Research will be conducted and disseminated to a standard acceptable to the international scientific community.





Last updated: Thursday, 19 November 1998 16:23:21 -0000

Page reference: http://www.downsnet.org/DownsEd/services/consult_intro.asp

The Down Syndrome Educational Trust 1996-1999. All rights reserved.
The Down Syndrome Educational Trust is a charity, registered in England, no. 1062823