Kirsten McDonaldKIRSTEN MCDONALD has a keen interest in language and communication having taught and been a teacher trainer for teachers of English as a foreign language for several years. She also has son who has Down syndrome and is an accredited Makaton trainer. Kirsten is currently on the Auckland Down Syndrome Association’s Education sub-committee and has been the Success in Schools course facilitator since February 2018. Kirsten believes knowledge, understanding and effective strategies are key to enabling children with Down syndrome to reach their full potential.

Amelia EadesAMELIA EADES is a young woman with Down syndrome who takes great delight in participating in a wide range of activities in the community. Amelia attended local public schools at all stages of her school career and has since completed a 2 year certificate at Unitec entitled Skills for Living and Working. Amelia works part-time in hospitality and volunteers part-time in public facing roles, such as the Recreate MOXIE sales team, Titirangi Community Art Gallery and ADSA Buddy Walk day. She has done some modelling work for the fashion industry and has an agent who is on the lookout for more opportunities. Amelia attends yoga classes and is in the Auckland Central Special Olympics aquatic team. Amelia is happy to share her school experiences with educators in the Success in Schools course.

Edward BorkinEDWARD BORKIN “Hi, I work at Paknsave where I have worked for 19 years as a trolley boy. For hobbies I do swimming, tenpin bowling and table tennis. I am also a member of STRIVE which is an association for people with Down syndrome. In my presentation I will talk about what we do for STRIVE and what my experience was like as a school child with Down syndrome and why I think it’s important for teachers to understand the best way to support children with Down syndrome.

Dr Jude McArthurDR JUDE MCARTHUR has a background in primary teaching, teacher education and disability research. She has worked as a lecturer in Education at Otago University and as a Senior Researcher at the Donald Beasley Institute in Dunedin undertaking research in teaching, learning and disability. Working primarily within the fields of childhood studies and disability studies, Jude has an interest in the development of socially just, inclusive school communities that welcome, value and respond to diversity. She considers the prioritising of children’s and young people’s rights and perspectives in research and teaching practice to be central to this development and as such has a further interest in ethical research that includes children and young people.

Jude is part of the team responsible for the Diploma in Specialist Teaching, at Canterbury University; and she is a co-teacher of ‘Assessment for Learners with Diverse Needs’, and ‘Teaching Methods for Learners with Diverse Needs’. Jude’s current supervision responsibilities include Masters and PhD level thesis work; topics include professional development for teachers to support inclusive education; a case study of an inclusive school; the development of a community of practice focused on inclusive practice at secondary school; the role of the itinerant outreach teacher; and integrated wellness and authentic practice in teaching. She is an advisor for student research projects in ‘Specialist Teaching Professional Inquiry’ and in ‘Professional Inquiry’.

Current research projects include coordinating and co-editing a book (with Dr. Jeanett Berman) by Massey researchers and colleagues that focuses on children’s and young people’s rights and participation in education; a case study of successful inclusion at secondary school for a student with complex needs; the impact of a disability studies in education approach on understandings about teaching, diversity and inclusive education in postgraduate teacher education; and the enactment of children’s and young people’s rights at school

Phillippa LilburnPHILLIPPA LILBURN is a registered psychologist, trained in Educational Psychology. she has worked with children for many years, starting out as a Karitane Nurse in 1979. She is still working for an NGO. Phillippa has practical experience of working hands on with children with behavioural challenges, this lead her into study. While studying and working at Health Camp, Phillippa developed an interest in children’s friendships and the effects of friendship on human development. She worked for many years for Special Education Services and then the Ministry of Education as well as working in the UK. She has experience working with children and young people from early childhood, primary and secondary school.​

Emma FerensEMMA FERENS “Hey I am Emma Ferens, I am a waitress at Bird on a Wire in Ponsonby. During my presentation I will be talking about my life journey from school days to my adult life where I am now living independently in a flat and working part time children with Down syndrome.”

Dr Rhonda FaragherDR RHONDA FARAGHER is Deputy Head of the School of Education and a senior lecturer in Inclusive Education. She has internationally recognised expertise in the mathematics education of learners with Down syndrome. In her research and teaching, she works to improve the educational outcomes of students who have difficulties learning mathematics, for whatever reason, including through educational disadvantage. Beyond mathematics education, she has expertise in inclusive education in a range of contexts, including secondary classrooms. Dr Faragher Is the Director of the Down Syndrome Research Program within the School of Education. She is an appointed Board member to the Academy on Education, Teaching and Research of IASSIDD – the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Chair of the Down syndrome Special Interest Research Group of IASSIDD, Trustee of Down Syndrome International and an Independent Director of Down Syndrome Australia. She is Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities. Dr Faragher is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has received a number of awards for her work including the 2016 ACU Vice-Chancellor’s Medal for Staff Excellence, a Commonwealth of Australia Endeavour Executive Award and the 2011 Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Research Award.​

Margi LeechMARGI LEECH is mother to a daughter with Down syndrome and another daughter with dyslexia. She is an experienced teacher, having taught in NZ, Australia and Hawaii. Margi is not only a Professional Learning provider presenter in Primary Mathematics, but also a certified Oxford University Press trainer of the Numicon programme. In 2003 Margi ran a trial of the Numicon programme for the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association with nearly 20 families in Auckland. That was the beginning of a new journey for Margi. Seeing wonderful success for so many children prompted her to introduce Numicon to Australia, especially the Down syndrome and special needs community where it is still being used in many schools. Today Margi presents at conferences for the Gifted and Down Syndrome communities, the famous PMA Day and at primary and secondary maths conferences around NZ. She loves being able to support teachers, SENCO’s, RTLB’s and Teacher aides in their endeavours to make maths learning accessible, meaningful and achievable.​

Sally ClendonSALLY CLENDON is a speech-language therapist who is passionate about communication and literacy for children with complex communication and learning needs. Sally completed her PhD in 2006 at the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sally works for Massey University where she teaches the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) course and coordinates the postgraduate program. Sally delivers workshops nationally and internationally with a focus on empowering communication partners to create optimal language and learning environments. Sally is one of the Co-Chairs of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) Conference which will be held on the Gold Coast in July 2018, and is an Associate Editor for the AAC journal.​

Fiona KentworthyFIONA KENWORTHY has been practising as a speech-language therapist since 1999. She completed her Bachelors degree in speech-language therapy in New Zealand, receiving a research scholarship to investigate the relationship between speech and feeding difficulties. Fiona then worked in the UK in special schools and child development teams for 8 years, where she developed specialist skills in paediatric feeding and supporting communication in children with special needs. In addition to mainstream speech-language therapy training such as Hanen and Makaton, Fiona completed a PGCert in Advanced Clinical Research. On returning to NZ in 2007, Fiona worked for two years as a clinical supervisor on the University of Auckland MSc program. She established the private practice Small Talk Therapy which enabled her to focus on her main area of interest, providing a specialist service for children with Down syndrome. She trained in the Johansson Program in 2014, and has since completed her CAT1 accreditation to enable her to assess for and order augmentative and alternative communication systems for children. Fiona is a member of ATANZ Assistive Technology Alliance NZ. She continues to learn from peer supervision, special interest groups, online articles/lectures and most importantly, from the many inspiring and skilled families she works with.

Andrea SmartANDREA SMART is a Practice & Implementation Advisor for Learning Support at the Ministry of Education. She supports managers and specialists to deliver on key Ministry of Education initiatives and quality practice for students with complex needs. Andrea has been in this role for 10 years and she has worked with the Ministry of Education for 13 years. Her professional background is physiotherapy, and she is experienced in working with children and young people with complex needs both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom.