WDSA Education Workshop 2021

It was a cold and wet Wednesday for the start of our WDSA Education Workshop for 2021.

It’s the first workshop WDSA has run for the number of years. The last was a pilot with the Ministry of Education in 2017.

There isn’t much parking around the ministry building and the wet weather meant a number of people were running late. We had 60 people (capacity) attend which was great. It was very encouraging to see so many Teacher Aides, Teachers, parents and other education professionals who were wanting to upskill for the people with Down Syndrome they support.


Susan Webber spoke about behaviour. This was the most requested topic of the day. Susan shared tips and strategies from courses she had been on and much of her reading. She shared as parents we don’t always get it right and sometimes a strategy works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works later.

Susan Webber Behaviour Ideas


Mark Potter – Principal Berhampore School and Inclusion Advocate shared about his schools  Inclusion Policy. How they Co-design of Learning Support with whanau and school. He shared about Professional development avenues for TAs. Particularly this fund https://pld.education.govt.nz/find-pld/teacher-aide-pld/


Margi from Edushop dialed in via zoom to share tips on Math’s and numeracy. She talked about Numicon.

Mari Leech Numicon Slides

IEP planning

Amanda from the Ministry of Ed talked about Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) and got the workshop discussing tips and strategies with each other.

Amanda Serci Individual Education Plans

IHC Library

Ros from the IHC library created a list of useful resources for the workshop. Many people didn’t know the IHC library was available and free and had some many good resources.

Ros Booker FAQ on using the IHC Library

Sports and Breaktime Inclusion

Susan shared again about Sports and Breaktime inclusion summarising some great ideas from a presentation from the Halberg Foundation.

Susan Webber Sports Inclusion

Tech and Tools

I gave an overview of a selection of apps, websites and other tools to support education.

James Webber Tech and Tools


Finally we finished the day of with a Panel disucssion with Christian Wright, Amanda Serci and  Susan Webber.

Some people asked about getting Numicon kits and we shared that these can be borrowed from the NZDSA (see form).

I also mentioned its worth joining both the NZDSA and WDSA membership. Joining helps the organisations when applying for funding but also keeps you upto date on future education and other offerings like this one. Both memberships are FREE.

My final plug was to Down Syndrome Education International who are really the thought leaders in DS education.

Particularly this course https://www.down-syndrome.org/en-us/services/training/courses/effective-education-in-school which we highly recommended.


  • Everyone took time out of their busy days to come and learn about supporting education for people in our community.
  • All our awesome speakers who gave up their time freely to present at the workshop. Special mention to Susan Webber for presenting twice on her birthday.
  • Amanda Morton for all her great help behind the scenes and setting up on the day.
  • Lee-Anne Siden from the MoE for all her great support and help with the facilities on the day and before.
  • Boxylox for awesome gift boxes yet again. You rock Ruth.
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