For World Down Syndrome Day 2022 we are asking, what does inclusion mean?

We believe that everyone should have access to inclusive and equitable quality education.

The following presentations were delivered at the 11th World Down Syndrome Day Conference in New York, 21 March 2022.

A brief history of the concept of Inclusive Education.

Diane Richler, Chair of Catalyst for Inclusive Education, Inclusion International (Canada)

The DSi Inclusive Education Campaign

Chris Barnes, Inclusive Education Officer at Down Syndrome International (United Kingdom)

What inclusion means in education in New Brunswick Canada.

Gordon Porter, Director of Inclusive Education Canada (Canada)

‘Inclusion is for the others – and that’s us!

Mareike Fuisz - Speaker and Mentor - (Germany)

My experience of inclusive education in Sri Lanka.

Nilshani De Silva - Self-advocate, craft teacher - (Sri Lanka)

Inclusion means for me being a teenager and studying just like everyone else.

Marina Mashtakova - Self-advocate, Downside Up - (Russia)

DSi Inclusive Education Campaign video.

Self-advocates: Joe Robbie (United Kingdom), Sheri Brynard (South Africa), Emily Mannino Jeatt (United Kingdom), and Lindsay Shearer (United Kingdom)

Don't give up: Our right for education and employment.

Gersi Troka - Self-advocate, Down Syndrome Albania Foundation - (Albania)


Inclusive Education - a discussion on the concept and practice in the classroom (United Kingdom case study).

Chris Barnes - Inclusive Education Officer for DSi and Teacher, Dr Dominic Griffiths - Visiting Research Fellow at Manchester Met University, Dr Janet Lord - Head of Education at Manchester Met University, Paul Rose - Founder of YouTeachMe and successful former Headteacher, and Emma Pinnock - Director at Essential Education Group and SEND Consultant.


In education, inclusion means…

  • Recognising the capacity for every person to learn.
  • Providing support and reasonable accommodation so all learners can fulfil their potential.
  • All learners receiving support appropriate to their needs.
  • Engaging all learners in all aspects of the student life.
  • Welcoming, valuing, respecting, including and listening to all learners.
  • Having an accessible environment where everyone feels safe, supported, stimulated and able to express themselves.
  • Having a personalised educational response, rather than expecting the student to fit the system.
  • Establishing high expectations for all learners including learners with Down syndrome and disabilities.
  • Being subject to the same basic rules and expectations as peers.
  • School leaders understanding and introducing inclusive education policies and practice.
  • All teachers and staff receiving training in core values and competencies to accommodate inclusive learning environments.
  • Learners with disabilities receiving support to ensure the effective transition from school to further education and work.
  • Education ministries ensuring that all resources are invested toward advancing inclusive education, and toward introducing and embedding the necessary changes in institutional culture, policies, and practices.

In education, inclusion is not

  • Separate mainstream and 'special' schools.
  • Being taught 1:1 all day.
  • Receiving more support than is necessary.
  • Resourcing the child to fit into the school’s/teacher’s system.
  • Special behaviour allowances.
  • A separate desk at the back of the class.
  • Easier work.
  • A behaviour/sanctions policy.
  • Being taught in an ‘inclusion hub’ for the hard lessons.
  • Joining in only with art, music, and PE.
  • The child is integrated or ‘coping well’.
  • There is an ‘inclusion team’ or an ‘inclusion hub’.
  • Being in the ‘special’ class for everything.
  • Having an individual education plan.

Read our other #InclusionMeans messages.

#InclusionMeans in Employment

#InclusionMeans in Health

#InclusionMeans in Organisations


Find out what we are doing to achieve inclusive education for all:

Inclusive education