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This is a book about learners with Down syndrome. To set the scene, we wish to introduce you to some young people with Down syndrome who have provided a brief profile highlighting their experiences as well as their aspirations. In particular, you will read of their experiences with schools and teachers, and suggestions for improvement and future research. In the spirit of ‘nothing about us, without us’, you will see they provide insights into the range of contexts and experiences through an authentic voice.

My name is Ruth, I am 16, and I live with my mum and dad and older brother in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. My other brother lives in Brisbane. I love my school. I love being told that I am doing well with my public speaking. It is good to read the notes and then look up to the audience. That’s what I do and I am being a confident person. Since I was little I wish-I wanted to do public speaking. Now I can do public speaking because I’m not a kid any more. I like to teach kids with Down syndrome. When I grow up I can teach them English and a bit of RE [Religious Education]. Students with Down syndrome have to learn RE and English as well. English is important because you need to learn poetry. You need to read all of the poem. Poetry is important to me because I just love doing poems. I love tests. People with Down syndrome need help with lots of things. I get a lot of help. Ladies from the learning centre help people with Down syndrome with RE. It is really helpful if I have Miss M [teacher aide]. She helps me with English because I am doing my ‘Which Witch’ poem and she is helping me.