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DS CEN Guidance

DS CEN Guidance Documents

The DS CEN has developed guidance for speech and language therapists that is specific to working with children and adults who have Down syndrome. 

Guidance for Speech & Language Therapists

The document, Key information for SaLTs: Addressing SLCN in Down Syndrome, aims to provide a ‘pick up and go’ concise overview of syndrome specific considerations for speech and language therapy staff. It draws out points for clinical practice that may be overlooked in contemporary clinical practice with people who have learning disabilities.

Click on the images of the guidance document below to download a copy:

The document sets out the rationale for support and intervention from birth and throughout the life span that addresses the unique profile of strengths and weaknesses impacting speech, language, communication and feeding. Researchers caution against a manualised approach to speech and language therapy for this population (see for example Van Bysterveldt, 2019): personalised goals and strategies that take into account individual’s skills, interests and aspirations, and must include direct therapy, carried out by speech and language therapists with a sound understanding of syndrome specific issues and interventions.


Rather than setting out a speech and language therapy treatment regime, it provides guidance and signposts research evidence to support implementation of Sackett et al’s (1996) conceptualisation of Evidence Based Practice that ‘integrates the best external evidence with individual clinical expertise and patients’ choice’.


This document was developed in the context of the Down syndrome Act 2022, by a working group of speech and language therapists from the DS CEN, including parents of a child and a young adult who have Down syndrome. It was endorsed and adopted by the CEN membership in 2024.

In addition to the main guidance document, please also see  Reference List.


To download a copy of the Key Information for SaLTs, along with the background to this guidance, and the reference list, click here: SaLT Guidance Pack

If you are a SaLT working with the Down syndrome community join the DS CEN to access further information, presentations, research, and peer support please join the DS CEN.

Future guidance

The DS CEN is currently discussing developing further guidance documents. Please keep an eye out for more information.

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