Welcome to Stepping Stones DS

Supporting children and young people with Down Syndrome and their families, one step at a time

Stepping Stones DS supports children and young people with Down Syndrome in North Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey. The group provides a wide range of support, activities and services for members and their families. All activities are designed to build confidence and support our members in reaching their potential.

We put a high priority on empowerment and provide training for parents, teachers and other professionals to allow them to better support our members. Stepping Stones DS is an entirely volunteer led, self funding organisation. For information on how to join Stepping Stones DS please see our New Parents page

Read More About Us…


If you shop on Amazon then Stepping Stones DS is now registered with Amazon Smile, so every time you checkout you could be helping us support our members and their families, and it won’t cost you a penny, see our Donate to Stepping Stones page for more details.

You can now sign up for our half termly newsletter using the form in the footer of our website


Stepping Stones DS is a run by parents, for parents and carers of children and young people with Down Syndrome. We are an entirely volunteer led group and would love to hear from you if you would like to support us.

Find out how you can help support us …


New Parents



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It’s Friday and this weekend is a big one for two of our families as it’s the London Marathon! We checked in with our runners Scott and Greg ahead of the big day to see how they are feeling:

Scott: Number collected. Final training run completed. Now I’m ready for the big day.
I’m really looking forward to running the London marathon. I’m lucky enough to have the support of so many people on this journey, and I hope I make them all proud.

Greg: Had lots of ups and downs throughout my training but I've really enjoyed the experience so far. Big thanks to Lottie, Oscar and Erik for putting up with my training runs and being so supportive!
Excited for the big day now and proud to be supporting such a fantastic charity.

Scott and Greg, we wish you both the best of luck! We are so grateful for your support.

If anyone would like to donate for Scott and Greg please see their fundraising pages in the comments.
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Today we were delighted to welcome Leela Baksi of Symbol to our newest specialist training session: Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder - A speech and language therapy perspective.

The course covered a wide range of topics including pathways to diagnosis, behaviours in ASD and DS, and managing anxiety.

Feedback from attendees included:
"Another great course with Stepping Stones. Leela Baksi is so knowledgeable and today's course was very insightful on Down Syndrome and Autism. Thank you!"

"Really pleased with today’s course on the DS/ASD connection. Very well organised by Stepping Stones and Leela is amazing, she offered such great information and personalised this course presentation from gaining information from the attendees."

Today's Dual Diagnosis course was commissioned by Stepping Stones in response to requests from member families. We organise a range of training workshops that help to open doors for our children and young people. We view this training as an investment in their future through sharing knowledge, information and support.

For more details on our upcoming courses including our behaviour workshop on the 25th of April, please visit www.steppingstonesds.co.uk/training/
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Good evening and welcome back from the Easter break!

Over the next few weeks, we are going to be introducing you to our dedicated team of Trustees. We hope you enjoy getting to know the people behind the organisation.

First on the list is our incredible Chair Sarah Sutton, who also manages Ops, PR, Fundraising, Premises & Admin.

I am Sarah, married to Gareth and have two daughters Zoe (DS) and Charlotte. Zoe is at a local mainstream school and had her second heart operation in 2016 summer time. I have been a trustee since 2010, before becoming Vice Chair and then Chair in 2015.

Before having children I worked in retail management for Waitrose and TOTAL UK, before having head office roles in marketing, communications and customer service and was part of a volunteer fundraising team for AMREF UK.

Apart from my role at Stepping Stones, in March 2018 I launched my new venture Sign in School, which will teach the use of Sign Supported English (SSE) to anyone who wants to use sign to support and promote communication.

Stepping Stones DS is a huge part of my life and I feel very privileged to be able to give something back.
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We have spaces on our upcoming training courses, including THIS THURSDAY: Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder- a speech and language therapy perspective, and our Up To Secondary Age Behaviour workshop on the 25th April.

Stepping Stones organises a range of training workshops that help to open doors for our children and young people. We view this training as an investment in their future through sharing knowledge, information and support. Our workshops are open to families, schools, medical professionals and anyone with a desire to learn more about Down syndrome. Although we are lucky to work with some of the world’s leading speakers and trainers we heavily subsidise the training workshops to make them accessible to all.

Details are as follows:

Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder- a speech and language therapy perspective

Thursday 19th April from 09:30 until 14:30
Delivered by Leela Baksi of Symbol

This course is for everyone concerned with Autism Spectrum Disorder along with Down syndrome, regardless of whether a firm diagnosis has been made. We will focus on diagnosing ASD with DS and responding to the presenting issues that lead to discussion of ASD diagnosis, focusing particularly on behaviour. We expect to run a follow up day in the autumn.

Leela will discuss:

• What is autism?
• What do we know about autism in people with DS?
• Pathways to diagnosis and post diagnosis
• Behaviours in ASD and DS: obsessive behaviours, Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA) & Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
• Managing anxiety

This workshop has been commissioned by Stepping Stones in response to requests from families. Leela Baksi, speech and language therapist with Symbol UK Ltd has worked with people with DS of all ages and children and young people with ASD in a range of settings for the past 25 years. She has supported children and young people with Down syndrome who also have a diagnosis of ASD, or where ASD has been discussed in the context of planning support and understanding issues


Behaviour Workshop

Weds 25th April from 09:30 until 14:30 – Up to Secondary Age
Delivered by Nick Barratt of Dimensions

During this workshop, attendees will learn a little about the science of human behaviour and applied behaviour analysis and how this can applied to children/young people with Down Syndrome. They will go on to discuss what we can do to encourage positive behaviour. Parts of the sessions will function as a workshop allowing time for discussion.

The workshop is being delivered by Nick Barratt. Nick is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst specialising in the field of autism and learning disability, which a particular emphasis on behaviours that challenge. He works for a not-for-profit organisation called Dimensions as its Head of Behaviour Support.

Nick serves on the board of the UK Society for Behaviour Analysis and chairs a professionals’ group called the Applied Behaviour Analysis Forum. He is a member of the Positive Behaviour Support Academy (PBS Academy), and is currently working with professionals and academics to promote research in Applied Behaviour Analysis in the UK.

Nick has a particular interest in skills-based intervention for behaviours that challenge, organisation-wide behaviour support and improving systems that support behavioural intervention.

Places can be booked by emailing training@steppingstonesds.co.uk. Please let us know the course titles, how many places you would like to book, attendees names, your contact details and how you would like to pay. Payment can be made on the day, via BACS or we can issue an invoice. £15 for members, £25 for non-members. If an invoice is required, please do let us know.
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Here's a #ThrowbackThursday to when some of our members appeared in Mr Tumble Something Special magazine at a SSDS swimming activity.

Can you recognise anyone you know?
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Finally, we come to our last video for Down Syndrome Awareness Week.

All of our members with Down Syndrome are individuals, with different abilities, different characters and different experiences, but it is clear from our survey that each and every one brings something unique to our community.

Please SHARE our final video.

Thank you all for taking the time to watch, like, comment and share. We hope you have enjoyed spending DS Awareness Week with us!

#whatibringtomycommunity #dsawarenessweek #inclusionmatters #wouldntchangeathing
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