Riley is just as much a part of our class as anyone else!

Children learn about Down syndrome

Friday, 25th March — By Charlotte Chambers

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Riley with classmates from Year 1

SCHOOLCHILDREN across the world sat down this week to learn about Down syndrome as part of an international day which aims to educate young and old about what makes us different – but more importantly what makes us the same, writes Charlotte Chambers.

And pupils in Year 1 at St Luke’s Church of England School in Old Street had an extra special reason to listen as they learned more about their classmate Riley, who has the condition.

One in 1,000 babies has Down syndrome, pupils were told, and the class also learned “a big word” called chromosome. While neuro-typical people have 46 chromosomes, people with Down syndrome have 47.

World Down Syndrome Day, which was marking its tenth anniversary this year, is held on March 21 in recognition of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. The class had already learned some Makaton, a type of sign language, to communicate with Riley.

Isabella, 6, said: “I like to play with Riley because sometimes when I do something he tries to do it as well and that’s good because he’s learning something.”

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