A support group for families with children who have Down's Syndrome in Monmouthshire, the Forest of Dean and surrounding areas. Registered Charity No. 1142198

In conjunction with The Attik, 21 Plus friends and volunteers will be abseiling down St. Mary’s in Monmouth to raise funds on Saturday 17th October.

If you’d like to donate or participate, please visit our MyDonate page.


It’s this time of the year again!

We’re holding our annual fundraiser: a Ceilidh and Hog Roast on Saturday, 20 June 2015 from 5 to 9 pm at Dingestow Village Hall near Monmouth.

Please come along, bring your friends and family and join us for this fun evening for the whole family.


Workshop on Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Llanover Village Hall, Llanover, near Abergavenny, NP7 9HB

9.30 – 11.30 Early years up to Key Stage 1

12.30 – 2.30 Key Stage 2 onwards

Course Outline
This training session will support parents and support staff to discuss issues around behaviour and explore strategies that will help them to promote positive behaviour in a child with Down’s syndrome. The session will adopt themes around communication and approaches to managing behaviour that will ensure consistency and a sense of stability for a child.
The course will be informal, using a variety of teaching methods. The course facilitator will also bring a variety of additional learning resources that provide further reading for those with a particular interest.
Participants will be encouraged to draw upon their own experiences and will have the opportunity to raise questions as they arise.

Course Content
1. The learning profile of a child with Down’s syndrome – learning strengths and learning weaknesses and how these affect behaviour
2. Language development and communication and impact on a behaviour management strategy
3. Developing independence and age appropriate behaviour
4. Encouraging friendships
5. Sources of additional support

Course Facilitator
Julian Hallett – Down’s Syndrome Association Wales Manager

Course Cost: £5

Please contact Katharina Barker by email: 21plus.k.barker@gmail.com to book your place.

Meeting the communication challenges of teenage years and young adulthood

for professionals and families supporting children and young people with Down syndrome from age 9 to young adulthood

Wednesday, 3 December 2014
9.30 am to 4pm
at The Serennu Children’s Centre, Newport, NP10 9LY

Led by: Leela Baksi, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Symbol UK Ltd

Cost: £50 per professional (30 places available) and £20 per family member (16 places available).

If your child is moving towards puberty or is grappling with issues of adolescence and adulthood, and meeting communication challenges along the way, then this course is for you.
This course looks at the communication issues in the context of adolescence, a time of transition from childhood to adulthood. We will explore ideas and strategies that can support communication around key themes for teenagers and young adults, focusing on the strengths and challenges associated with Down syndrome.
We discuss developing skills for the teenage years and young adulthood, focusing on the nuts and bolts of speech, language and communication to build success in real life situations.

This course is designed for a mixed audience of parents and family members, Personal Assistants and befrienders, school and college staff including teaching assistants and teachers, and other practitioners including speech and language therapists. There will be opportunities to discuss issues and plans for individuals during workshop-style sessions.

Course outline:

Adolescence, young people who have Down syndrome, and communication skills: challenges and opportunities – What does research tell us about the communication skills of young people who have DS?

Living with communication impairment: common issues and what we can do about them
■ Key areas to address and strategies: learning words and achieving clearer speech; vocabulary, language scripts, grammar and narrative skills; personal presentation skills;
■ Too much/not enough talking! Self-talk, and selective mutism – why might it happen and what we can do about it.

Visual scaffolding to support thinking skills, and organisational skills and communication

Communication strategies for exploring issues of adolescence with young people who have Down syndrome
■ Who am I? Developing identity as a young person
■ What’s happening to me? Changing bodies and changing relationships
■ Taking a place in the adult world – Citizenship

To book a place, please email: victoria.21plus@gmail.com. Alternatively, contact Victoria on 07813877957 to discuss your booking.

When booking places, please provide:
• Your name and contact details
• Names and roles of people applying for places
• Age(s) of young people who have Down Syndrome that you support
• Name and address for invoicing. An invoice will be sent as confirmation of booking.

Symbol UK Ltd provides a range of services to people with learning disabilities including specialist speech and language therapy for people with Down syndrome, and have worked with the Down’s Syndrome Association as speech and language therapy advisors, Down Syndrome Education Trust, parent lead groups and schools, colleges and NHS services. See their website http://www.symboluk.co.uk for further details about what they offer.


Serennu Children’s Centre
Cwrt Camlas
High Cross
NP10 9LY
Tel: 01633 748000

There is a free car park at the venue.

Inclusion of Children with Down’s Syndrome
Chepstow Racecourse
Chepstow, Monmouthshire NP16 6BE
Thursday, 2 October 2014

From 8.30 Enrolment and Coffee

9.00 Including children with Down’s Syndrome – An introduction to the learning profile and whole school planning:
Victoria Ralfs – Schools Advisory Service Lead, Ups and Downs Southwest

10.00 Coffee

10.30 Developing Literacy – Looking at language and communication and the development of reading and writing skills: Cecilie MacKinnon – Downsability

12.00 Lunch

12.45 Developing Numeracy Skills in Primary School – Using Numicon to develop concepts and mathematical thinking:
Cecilie MacKinnon
Promoting Age Appropriate Behaviour in Secondary School: Victoria Ralfs

13.45 Break

14.00 Developing Maths Skills in Secondary School – Developing mathematical skills for everyday living: Cecilie MacKinnon
Behaviour Management in Primary Schools: Victoria Ralfs

15.00 The Importance of Inclusion: Victoria Ralfs

15.30 Evaluation and Close

Please contact 21plus.k.barker@gmail.com for further details and a booking form.


We are holding our annual ceilidh for the whole family

on Saturday, 14 June 2014 from 5 – 9 pm.

It will again take place at Dingestow Village Hall in Dingestow, Monmouthshire.

There will be a hog roast and the Skirrid Ceilidh Band will be leading the dancing. We will have a licensed bar, sell cakes and hold a raffle.

Tickets are £10 for adults, £4 for children (under 16) and £25 for a family (2 adults and 2 children). The ticket price includes the hog roast.

All proceeds will go to 21 Plus (the local support group for families who have a child with Down’s Syndrome).

Please come along, bring your families, relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours  and pass on this invitation!

For tickets please contact Victoria Hughes at victoria.21plus@gmail.com

Hope to see you there!

Lose the Label

Lose the Label is a campaign to promote the use of person-first language. Thus, we refer to a “person with Down’s Syndrome”, rather than ” a Down’s Syndrome Person”.

Down’s Syndrome – What works?

Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran NP44 3UW

Thursday, 17 October 2013


8.30     Registration and Coffee


9.00     How inclusion worked for me – Sara Pickard who has Down’s Syndrome


9.30     Keynote: ‘Accessing the Curriculum – Developing Language and Literacy Skills through Differentiated Learning’ – Cecilie Mackinnon

This keynote focuses upon the language and learning profiles of children with Down’s Syndrome and shows how the development of language and literacy skills is critical to their cognitive development. It illustrates how the curriculum can be used to develop literacy and reading skills and how to differentiate, use and adapt methods and resources to develop reading and writing skills.


11.00   Coffee


11.30   Keynote: ‘Accessing Life’ – fun, friends, family and a functional identity – expectations and making it work – Victoria Ralfs 

This keynote focuses on what our children need to navigate their way through the world and how our expectations as families and professionals can enable an environment that is enabling not disabling. Inspiring staff working from early years and beyond to prioritise the really important aspects of our children’s development, making the most of their key strengths and equipping them to enjoy what the rest of us take for granted.


12.30   Lunch


13.30   Experience of inclusion from the point of view of a Teaching Assistant – Beth Pickard


14.00   Workshop:‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ – Why sexuality and relationships education must be at the core of our children’s teaching and learning – Victoria Ralfs

This workshop will look at why, when, how and what to use. SRE starts from Reception in how it teaches our children the building blocks of what they need to know about their bodies, boundaries, and how to enjoy successful, safe relationships.


15.00   Coffee


15.15   Workshop: ‘Using Numicon to develop Numeracy and Mathematics Skills’ – Cecilie Mackinnon

This session is an introduction to Numicon. It focuses on how Numicon’s action, imagery and conversation approach is particularly efficient in developing a secure understanding of the number system for children with Down syndrome. It looks at the language and learning profiles and identifies the strategies and resources that can be used to overcome the difficulties that impact upon the development of numeracy and mathematical concepts for children with Down’s Syndrome.

Participants in this session have the option to enrol for a full-day Numicon training session free of charge at the end of this session.


16.15   Close

 For futher details please email : 21plus.k.barker@gmail.com

21 Plus, with support from the Down’s Syndrome Association and the Down’s Syndrome Medical Interest Group will be holding a conference for medical professionals on 12 November 2013 at the Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran.

There will be presentations from physicians who have a special interest in Down’s Syndrome, many of whom run specialist clinics only for this group of children. The conference will be of interest to general practitioners, paediatricians, specialist nurses/health visitors and professions allied to health who work with children with Down’s Syndrome. There is no fee for attending the course thanks to the generous support of drug companies.   The day has also been approved by the RCPCH for CPD and is worth five credits.

2013 Medical Conference programme

If you would like to attend, please complete the form below:

2012 Inclusion Conference

21 Plus is pleased to announce their 2012 Inclusion Conference Supporting Children with Down’s Syndrome at School and at Home on Friday, 12 October 2012 at Alice Springs Golf Club, Usk.

This event has been organised by 21 Plus with support from the Down’s Syndrome Association.  The conference is suitable for all staff involved in teaching and supporting pupils with Down’s Syndrome in both mainstream and special educational settings at primary and secondary stages. It is relevant to educational psychologists and other professionals involved in planning and managing input to schools as well as to parents of children with Down’s Syndrome.  There is also a workshop, which will be of interest to those providing non-school based activities that include children with Down’s Syndrome, such as clubs and leisure centres.

If you have not attended an educational conference on Down’s Syndrome before you will be introduced to the learning profile of pupils and the principles of differentiation which can support and include these children.  For delegates who have attended previously this conference will build on your existing knowledge and include a focus on literacy and maths skills in primary and secondary education settings, improve your understanding and management of behaviour and help you to include speech and language therapy activities into the school day.

During the day there will be opportunities to ask questions and to share experiences with colleagues, parents, experts in education from the Down’s Syndrome Association and a speech and language therapist who specialises in Down’s syndrome.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

For further information and to book places please contact Katharina Barker:


The agenda for the conference is available here: Inclusion Conference 2012 (PDF)