About

DownsAbility

DownsAbility provides training and support in schools, for Local Education Authorities, NGOs and parents. We provide training and support in all aspects of support, development and education at every stage in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.

We are a support service that is designed to provide information for people with Down’s syndrome, their families, carers and the professionals who work with them that can facilitate a greater understanding of Down’s syndrome, its impact upon individual lives and its effects on both development and achievement.

Cecilie Mackinnon

Cecilie has 20 years experience as a classroom teacher throughout the full primary range, mainstream and special schools, and in an SEN advisory post supporting both primary and secondary schools. Whilst working for the Local Authority, Cecilie undertook 2 Post Graduate Diplomas in; Early Years Education and Support for Learning.

Since 1998 Cecilie has worked in the voluntary sector as Education Officer with the Scottish and National Down Syndrome Associations supporting families and schools. She has many years of experience as a trainer, having supported and delivered training in all aspects of educational and social development of children and young people with Down syndrome for Parent led Support groups, for professional development of Teachers, Support Assistants and Leadership Teams in both the primary and secondary sector.

She is a member of the U.K. Down’s Syndrome Education Consortium working collaboratively to produce award winning publications on supporting children with Down syndrome and a member of the ‘All Party Parliamentary Working Group responsible for the recent publication: Down Syndrome: Good Practice Guidelines for Education.

She is an accredited Numicon and Down Syndrome Education International Training Consultant and develops practical teaching resources to support the education and social development children with Down syndrome.

Cecilie now works independently in the UK and internationally as an independent consultant covering all aspects concerning the education and social development of children and young people with Down syndrome. She is passionate about the Numicon approach and is and committed to ensuring that children of all abilities enjoy and become confident in mathematics.

Sandy Alton

Sandy is a qualified classroom teacher specialising in Special Needs and Learning Difficulties, and has experience of teaching in both mainstream and special schools. 

In addition, Sandy gained a:

  • Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice in Education (Alternative Perspectives in Literacy Difficulties), 2005,  Oxford Brookes University;
  • Certificate in Advanced Studies in Early Intervention, 1997, Westminster College, Oxford University;
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs, 1976, Oxford Brookes University.

For the last 18 years, Sandy was the Lead Consultant Advisory Teacher for the Downs Syndrome and Complex Needs Service for SENSS (Special Educational Needs Support Service) Oxfordshire Local Authority for 18 years, retiring in August 2016 although carried on offering temporary support after this.

This post involved visiting schools and providing advice and strategies on a range of aspects including developing literacy and numeracy skills, behaviour and inclusion, differentiation and adapting the curriculum, assessment and report writing for children with Down syndrome and complex needs. Provision of training and inset for teaching staff (teachers and TAs ) was a regular part of Sandy’s work.

Sandy also lectures on Downs syndrome at Brookes University Oxford as part of Inclusion Week for the PGCE and BA students. 

She is a former member of the U.K. Down’s Syndrome Education Consortium who worked collaboratively to produce the award winning publications; ‘The Down’s Syndrome Education Support Packs for Primary and Secondary Schools’ and was a member of the ‘All Party Parliamentary Working Group responsible for the publication: Down Syndrome: Good Practice Guidelines for Education.

Sandy now works independently in the UK and internationally as an independent consultant covering a range of areas concerning the education and development of children and young people with Down syndrome. She is passionate about the potential these children have but is very aware that appropriate strategies and differentiation are needed in many cases in order for this potential to be reached.

Copyright 2017 DownsAbility - Website designed by Xtensive