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Amanda Foulds
Early Development Group co-ordinator
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01865 875832

Early Development Groups

Down’s Syndrome Oxford hold Early Development Groups (EDGs) for children under 5 who live in Oxfordshire and have Down’s Syndrome.

It has been shown that early intervention helps children with developmental differences reach their full potential. The benefits are well-documented and can help children with Down’s syndrome achieve greater independence, improve their communication skills and their fine motor skills.

Our objectives through the groups, are to develop communication skills, social interaction skills and prepare children for nursery and eventually primary school. We also aim to provide parents with skills and ideas to continue their child’s development at home. The activities aim to be engaging and fun which will maximise the children's learning ability, get them used to be part of a group and give them supported opportunities to interact with their peers.

There is an emphasis on using sign language to aid communication. The sign language used is Makaton which has been developed by professionals at the Makaton Vocabulary Development Project since its first appearance in 1976. 

DSO employ a speech and language therapist, Colette Lloyd. Colette has been working with DSO since 2010. Colette has vast experience and has an adult daughter who has Down’s Syndrome.


We do not charge families for their child to attend an EDG. The room rental and Speech & Language therapist fees are paid for by DSO. The Wednesday morning EDGs and Stay & Play sessions are approximately one third of DSO’s overall annual budget To meet these costs money is raised by the families and friends of DSO.

We do ask parents to commit to attend sessions. If a child attends fewer then 50% of the sessions available in any term, we may ask for the place to be passed to another child. We will of course review the situation, with the family, and offer a place when available once the family feels ready to return on a more frequent basis.


The EDGs take place on a Wednesday morning during term time at West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Rd, Oxford OX2 0BT.

The Stay & Play baby group takes place in another room at WOCA. If you would like to bring a sibling to the play group you are welcome to leave them with our organiser, who is also a lovely mum, when you attend the EDG.


We have found that approximately 18 months is the best time to join an EDG. The children are grouped according to their age, school year and sometimes by communication strengths and needs. Each group has approximately 4 children to allow them to observe and turn-take whilst still holding their attention.

If you would like your child to attend an Early Development Group This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will offer a place, in a suitable group, as soon as one becomes available.