A syndrome is characterised by a group of signs, symptoms, phenomenon or characteristics that occur together and collectively indicate or characterise an abnormal condition, psychological disorder or disease.

These essential characteristics are usually classified as a combination of typical major symptoms or signs essential to the diagnosis together with minor findings, some or all of which may be absent.

In addition there may be other conditions which may co-occur more frequently than would be expected by chance. Frequently, however, whilst the syndrome and associated condition may be statistically related, they do not have a clear cause-and-affect relationship.

Within Irish schools there are children with a wide range of assessed syndromes many of which are statistically very rare and uncommon in their occurrence. In this section we shall examine in more detail five syndromes which present more frequently in our classrooms (as well as ASD/Asperger’s Syndrome / Autism already having been covered in an individual section). For further information on other specific syndromes seek introductory advice from parents and professionals working with the child. Be alert to the validity of some of the information you may access on the web.

Further Information and References:

Down's Syndrome: - Down Syndrome Ireland. Practical information and strategies for Primary schools and Secondary schools including PDF download of Including Children with Down Syndrome in your School. - Down’s Syndrome Scotland. Can download Mackinnon, C. (2003).Making it Work: Supporting Inclusion in Secondary Schools. Downs Syndrome of Scotland. - Down’s Syndrome Association -Down’s Syndrome Education International. Source of resources to purchase for use in education - free software download to generate Interactive-visual timetables – Irish sign language for children with mild, moderate or severe and profound learning disabilities - Maths resources to buy and download - Interactive whiteboard resources for children with Specific Learning Disabilities, profound and multiple learning disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. - resources for children with autism and other learning disabilities

Buckley, S. and Bird, G. (1994). Meeting the
Educational Needs of Children with Down Syndrome:
A Handbook for Teachers
. Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth.

Down Syndrome Association & Scottish Down’s Syndrome Association. Including Pupils with Down’s
Syndrome. Information for Teachers and Learning Support Assistants – Primary.

Lorenz, S.91998). Children With down’s syndrome: a Guide for Teachers and Support Assistants in Mainstream Education (Resource Materials for Teachers). London: David Fulton Publishers.

Newton, R. (2004). The Down’s Syndrome Handbook. Vermilion.

Phonological Awareness Training (P.A.T.). Available from E.T.C. Consult, Leeson Street, Dublin 2.

Selikowitz, M. (2008). Down Syndrome (The Facts). Third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press


Syndromes (fragile X): - website of the Irish Fragile X Society and support group - website of the UK Fragile X Society.

It has PDF booklets of Fragile X: An introductionFragile X Syndrome: An Introduction to Educational Needs. (2003). Third Edition- (an introductory guide for Teachers, SNAs and schools interested in Fragile X Syndrome).
A further publication, Fragile X: Education and Severe Learning Difficulties, and videos including Fragile X Syndrome are available by contacting the Society directly through links on the website. - website of the Fragile X Foundation, USA - Website of the Australian Fragile X Society. Through links in the resource section it is possible to access a publication Lesson Planning Guide for Students with Fragile X Syndrome:

A Practical Approach for the Classroom. (2004). The National Fragile X Foundation Education Project. San Francisco, USA ( )

Dew-Hughes, D.(Ed) (2004).Educating Children With Fragile X Syndrome: A Multi-Professional View. Oxon: Routledge.

Hull Learning Services (2004).Supporting Children with Fragile X Syndrome. London: David Fulton Publishers Ltd

Saunders, S. (2000). Fragile X Syndrome: A Guide for Teachers. London: David fulton Publishers