Speech and Language Therapy

Of all the issues children born with Down syndrome have to face, speech and language is one of the most difficult things they have to work on.  Communication is vital to everyday living and DSCork has recognised this for many years.  We are dedicated to delivering the best possible speech and language therapy to our babies, children and adults.

We specialise in group and individual therapy.  Best practice recommends group therapy for younger children, graduating to individual therapy and then returning to group therapy when older.  The social aspect of group therapy is a vitally important element.  Many children will attend group therapy as well as invidualised therapy.

Therapy is individual to each child.

Early Intervention:

  • 0-12 Months – support and advice sessions on demand, oral motor and FEDS intervention when required.
  • 12-24 Months – Little Explorers 5 monthly sessions focusing on developing interaction and core communication skills. Use of Lámh, Joint attention, turn taking, eye contact, positive interactions.
  • 2-3 years – Early Starters Group 5 monthly sessions, continuing to develop communication and interaction skills; introducing tasks which focus on attention and listening, speech sound imitation, use of Lámh, following instructions and vocabulary development.
  • 3 years – Little Learners Preschool Group Fortnightly sessions (parents do not attend). This is a themed group, working on socialisation and the development of speech and language skills in preparation for school.

Conversation Cafe – suitable for 12+ approx to early teens:

Held monthly, this group concentrates on:

  • Learning how to follow a sequence to make a snack/desert/smoothies
  • Building friendships
  •  Improving conversation skills

Chatter Matters for mid teens.

Group Goals – held monthly.

  • Develop sequencing skills: Over the ten sessions we plan to focus on four specific
    recipes with a view to participants being able to follow the sequence and complete these recipes independently.
  • Develop independence and self help skills: During the group there will be a focus on
    participants developing independence and self help skills and supporting each other in
    task completion.
  • Developing group skills and friendships: We will focus on developing friendships and
    working in groups focusing on skills such as turn-taking, self-awareness, listening to
    others, participation.

Life Skills – held monthly for our older teens concentrates on:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Using an ATM/using your debit card to purchase an item
  • Returning an item
  • Complaining about a service or item
  • Ordering food

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams will offer endless opportunities to develop further opportunities for adults in DSCork.

Other groups

Fun with Food, ‘Team groups”, Lamh training, iPad training are just some of the extensive range of speech and language therapy on offer in Down Syndrome Cork.


Meet the team

Isolda O’Connor

My name is Isolda O’Connor and I’ve been an SLT for 30 years now. I have worked in the UK, Dublin and now West Cork where I intend to stay. I have worked in most areas of SLT over the years but primarily Intellectual disability and also ASD for the past 20 or so years. My special interests are in the different development of children with Down Syndrome and the area of internationally adopted children.  I have a good deal of passion for the work but I am also extremely fond of my family, my garden, my chickens, making pots , cakes and studying theology.

I have a definite leaning towards holistic approaches to working with the speech, language and communication needs of children and adults with intellectual disability and ASD. My additional qualifications are in psychotherapy and counselling. I have had an interest in sensory integration since the late 1980’s and Karen Bunning’s work on individualised sensory environments. Over the past 5 years I have completed two modules of the Sensory Integration training and also the” Sensory and Behaviour”  and “Sensory Regulation in infants”  courses. I particularly like the coaching approach in DIR-floortime. It seems to me that DIR is a model which can encompass my strong sense that we can only start from where families are and go with them where they want to go. DIR for me also references sensory integration and is compatible with the Hanen approach.  I believe in taking a “speech positive” approach with Down syndrome from the beginning , focusing on oral motor stimulation and setting the foundations for good speech.

I am the I have a small private practice at the moment and a 3 day a week post with CoAction in the new West Cork Child Development Service (for children with complex needs).  My current clinical motto is “Be the toy”.  I was recently given a quote by a colleague that I love:- “What is now proven was once only imagined”. I am passionate about creating each therapy session from scratch out of the engagement between myself , the child and the parent present.




Deirdre Coleman

My name is Deirdre Coleman and I am a Senior Speech and Language Therapist with DSCork.  After the birth of my son, I reduced my working week to 3 days.

Having received my Bachelor of Science in Intellectual Disability Nursing in 2006, I worked primarily with children in early intervention services.  I wanted to expand my role in early intervention and I decided to study for my Masters in Speech & Language Therapy. I graduated in August of 2010 and the rest is history as they say!!!!

I love my job as an SLT everyday brings new challenges and more importantly great joy , it is truly a wonderful thing to be part of the empowerment of families in helping their children achieve their potential in both speech & language skills . The importance of early intervention for children with Down syndrome is paramount.

I have a keen interest in the use of iPads as a therapy tool and enjoy advising parents around apps targeting the development of speech and language skills. I believe strongly in parents being present and active in therapy sessions it gives the parent a clear insight into the delivery of speech and language activities as families are the primary agents of therapy.


Mide Kearney

My name is Míde Kearney and I am a full-time Senior Speech and Language Therapist in Down Syndrome Cork.

I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from University College Cork.  While studying,  I worked as a carer in a respite centre for children with intellectual disabilities. This experience confirmed for me that I wanted to work with children and adults who had intellectual disabilities and in particular Speech and Language Therapy. I later went on to Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh where I completed my GDip in Speech and Language Therapy.

My role has a Speech and Language Therapist has taught that none of us ever stop learning. I appreciate how communication impacts every aspect of our lives and I love being able to help children and adults reach their potential. My experience as working as part of a multidisciplinary team has taught me how important it is to look at a persons physical, sensory, behavioural, emotional needs and take these into account when working on communication. My biggest aim to to make each session fun, engaging and motivating. As we all know, learning is so much easier if you are having fun.

I am trained as a Lámh Tutor and in the Hanen programmes and like to use these within sessions to support parents to nurture their children’s development. I am also interested in using technology including the iPad to support learning and communication. I am a qualified dysphagia therapist, which means that I have experience working with people who need support to develop safe eating, drinking and swallowing skills.



Deirdre Flynn

Deirdre Flynn is the newest, full time, member of the DSCork SLT team.  Originally from West Cork, Deirdre will be looking after the Skibbereen clinic which is open to any family member in the West Cork area.

Deirdre has a wide variety of experience working with both children and adults presenting with a variety of special needs and dual diagnosis.

Deirdre O’Leary

Deirdre has been with DSCork on a number of assignments over last few years and recently provided extra part time support.  Currently studying for her PhD, Deirdre has a small number of clients she takes care of in addition to supporting some of the teen SLT groups.

Deirdre is currently recruiting 16+ member of DSCork to participate in her research for her PhD.  The study is  ‘Unclear Speech in Down Syndrome”.  Please email deirdre.oleary@dsicork if you are interested.

Our Clinics

Daily –  DSCork offices on Old Mallow Road.

Midleton – every Tuesday.

Skibbereen – every Monday.

Youghal – bi weekly on a Wednesday.


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