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


I am the slightly older one in this picture. 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 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. I have been a full time SLT manager before but never again. I enjoy the clinical work and I intend to stay at it for as long as my knees will hold out crawling on the floor.



Deirdre Coleman

My name is Deirdre Coleman I am one of the therapist at Down syndrome Cork , I work full time as a Senior Speech & Language Therapist . I have worked with Down syndrome Cork for over five years now !Just a little back round on myself….In June 2006 I received my
Bachelor of Science in Intellectual Disability Nursing at the Waterford Institute of Technology, I worked primarily with children in early intervention services after to years of nursing I decided that I wanted to expand my role in early intervention, it was from here that I applied to the University of Limerick to study for my Masters in Speech & Language Therapy. I began my course in August of 2008, and 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. We offer a variety of services within that critical early intervention stage including, Parent & baby groups, singing hands groups, Lamh family training & individualized therapy sessions.

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.We also run parent iPad training groups from time to time. 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.

Every year is busy and the service is constantly developing with Lamh Training course for families & schools, A new singing hands groups for our little Lamh users, Little Explorers Parent & Baby
Groups, Lamh Choir for our teenagers & various speech & language groups throughout the year P.S Watch out for your new Speech & Language Therapy Facebook page which will be filled with lots of information, tips & ideas!


Mide Kearney

My name is Míde Kearney and I am a full-time Senior Speech and Language Therapist in Down Syndrome Cork. I am covering a maternity leave here at present and have really enjoyed my time here so far. I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from University College Cork over seven years ago. During that time 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.

I have been a Speech and Language Therapist for over five years now and if I have learnt one thing it is 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, behavioral, 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 your’re 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.

Being part of the Down Syndrome Cork Team has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience and I have enjoyed being in a position to develop the practice.


Gala Morgan
Gala is a graduate from UCC and joined DSCork in August 2016.

Deirdre O’Leary
Deirdre has been with DSCork on a number of assignments over last few years.  Currently studying for her PhD, Deirdre has a small number of clients she takes care of.

Our Clinics

The primary clinic is based in the DSCork offices on Old Mallow Road.  We have a weekly clinic in Midleton, bi-weekly in Youghal and Mitchelstown and we are intending to open in Skibereen in Spring 2017.


Recent Tweets