In the education of pupils with Down syndrome, "simplifying" literal talk and concrete stimulation have typically played a dominant role. This explorative study investigated the extent to which teachers stimulated abstract cognitive functions via inferential talk during book-sharing and how pupils with Down syndrome responded. Dyadic interactions (N=7) were videotaped, transcribed and coded to identify levels of abstraction in teacher utterances and to evaluate the adequacy of pupil responses. One-third of the teachers' utterances contained high levels of abstraction and promoted inferential talk. Six of the seven children predominantly responded in ways which revealed inferential thinking. Dialog excerpts highlighted individual, contextual and interactional factors contributing to variations in the findings. Contrary to previous claims, the children with Down syndrome in the current sample appear able to draw inferences beyond the "here-and-now" with teacher support. This finding highlights the educational relevance and importance of higher-order cognitive stimulation of pupils with intellectual disabilities, to foster independent metacognitive skills.