Helping kids with Down syndrome find their voice.


Giving the gift of speech

About UpsideDowns Education Trust

In New Zealand, between 50 and 80 babies with Down syndrome are born each year. That's 1 in 1,000 Kiwi families.

It is well-documented that “Speech and language therapy is the most important part of intervention services for children with Down syndrome if we wish to promote their cognitive (mental) and social development” (Buckley and Le Prevost, 2002). However, it may come as a surprise that the specialist education needed to ensure children with Down syndrome are equipped with the effective communication skills is not provided as part of the New Zealand Government's education curriculum. It is only available through private practitioners.

In 2003, a group of parents of kids with Down syndrome sought to address this need by establishing the UpsideDowns Education Trust. By helping fund speech language therapy, we've ensured hundreds of kids have received tens of thousands of life-changing sessions and developed the ability to communicate effectively. The charity remains led by a group of parents who meet monthly to discuss strategy and governance, and coordinate our annual fundraising efforts.

“I have always been very impressed with the work and the commitment of the families who govern UpsideDowns. Our sons and daughters will thrive if they have families who will do whatever it takes to craft good lives for them.” - Bridget Sneddon, Director, Family Network NZ

Purpose: We believe that every child with Down syndrome should have the tools to develop their communication, confidence and independence, and the right to participate fully in society

Mission: We're empowering kids with Down syndrome to talk, read and write by helping fund speech language therapy

Vision: Giving a voice to kids with Down syndrome

Who benefits?

Speech language therapy is life-changing, and not just for the children – it’s about their parents, whānau, teachers, neighbours, and the wider community. When these kids succeed, everyone benefits.

The feedback we receive is incredible:

  • “Thanks once again for your amazing assistance! Anders is continuing to make good progress with his speech development. We are convinced this would not be occurring without his access to a private speech language therapist. We no longer have access to any publicly funded speech language therapy, so this assistance is very gratefully received.”

  • “Louis’s speech language therapy input is really making a real difference. For example, Louis was not feeling well this morning and said, ‘Sore tummy, Dad. Rub tummy.’ These may not be big sentences, however this is the first time he has been able to communicate that he is not feeling well. Normally we would be second-guessing how he is feeling.”

We fund approved (with NZSTA-registered therapists) speech language therapy for kids with Down syndrome in New Zealand. Due to the high demand for our services, we currently have a waitlist of families who urgently need our support.

  • Registered with the charities commission (CC28101)

  • Annual accounts reviewed and approved by KPMG

  • Donations tax-deductible

Support Us

Every dollar really does count. Currently in New Zealand the government does not provide funding for kids with Down syndrome to access life-changing speech language therapy. You donation will help get more kids off our waiting list.

Donate Now