In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, the DSAGSL is recognizing individuals or groups who have gone above and beyond for an individual with Down syndrome and/or the Down syndrome community. Do you know an individual or group who fits this description? We want to congratulate them! Submit their name/contact info, a brief description and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d like to nominate the staff at Kirkwood Kindercare, for welcoming Will with open arms every time we go through the doors. He graduated and is at Lindbergh now, but from age 1-3 he attended Kindercare.
When I was looking for daycare, I was so dismayed by long wait lists. The only place I found with availability, wasn’t comfortable enrolling a child with Down syndrome. Needless to say, I was heartbroken.
The shining light was when Kindercare was, not only delighted to enroll him, but didn’t hesitate at all. His two-year-old classroom teachers were awesome with him, listened to his First Steps team, and loved him like he was theirs. Patience and understanding, with high expectations, is something we all want and that is what we found there. There is such a positive tone set at Kindercare, and they are always so flexible.
15 out of 25 of their staff walked at Step Up for Down Syndrome this year. Amazing!
I hope you consider the Kindercare in Kirkwood superstars, because I know Will does and so do we!
Hi! I’m Ethan J. Schroder. I like doing this blog about myself. I like sports like baseball, basketball, and bowling. I also like to play video games on the PS3 system. I also like to play my drums and guitars. I like to hang out with my friends. My birthday is not until July 23. My favorite quote is, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
My grandfather Schroeder is in the hospital now because he has cancer, which is called Leukemia. He is in my head and heart.
I am involved with the Pujols Family Foundation, too.I also have been involved with the St. Louis ARC. I am now 23 years old now.
I have a dog her name is Lucy D. Schroeder. I have a single mother that is involved with the St. Louis ARC, & the St. Luke’s Hospital. She works at CTS – (Constructions of Technology site).
Since I am a student there, I get involved with UMSL’s events as well, like the Triton Take Off party. I also got into the MADCO internship. It is an on campus internship over at the Tou Hill Performing Arts.
Lastly, I have a new internship at the DSAGSL as well.
Gus’ Playground is located in Wilmore Park in South city. The park is located near Hampton and Gravois along River Des Peres. It is a universally accessible playground meaning there is something for people of all abilities to do, even those in wheelchairs. Our Alderman picked Gus because of his special needs and to honor the family of a police officer who gave his time to public service in the city of St. Louis. That person is Gus’ Papa Gabel who is retired from St. Louis City Police Department.
It is Gus’ playground and he will tell you so….”my playground”. We actually visit there a couple times a week and last night he had a blast playing will all the other kids as an equal participant. Awesome to see this happen before my very eyes!
Spiderman and Superman were at the grand opening in August! Gus stood with Mayor Slay during his entire speech and is attending a dinner this coming weekend at Missouri Athletic Club for a fundraiser for Unlimited Play where we have been told he will be presenting Mayor Slay with an award.
Pulling the ribbon and being the first to run on the playground was super fun and exciting. It appears that beside the swings, Gus’ favorite thing to do is hang upside down from the low monkey bars or go in fast circles on the carousel that was sponsored by Cardinals Care.
Soon there will be a sign with Gus’ picture from the grand opening and the words “Let’s Play!”
My mom and I went to a concert last Wednesday, and it was my first time to see a concert. The artist was One Direction.
I got the music for the band One Direction one week ago. It was great music. At the concert, it was amazing! It had bright lights and the walk was in colors as they were singing. The tickets were so close to the stage, and the music was loud. There were also fireworks going off in the concert, and they had fog before it began.
The DSAGSL was fortunate to have three awesome interns over the course of the summer and wanted to share a bit about each of them!
Taylor Mitchell – University of Missouri
Taylor is a senior at the University of Missouri studying Cross-Categorical Special Education. She is very passionate about the role of positive tools and supports in the classroom and behavior modeling. Taylor has been volunteering in Special Education since she was young and has a unique interest in Down syndrome because of her sister, who has a similar disability. In her free time, Taylor likes to play with her dogs Mercedes and Memphis, visit with family and cheer on her favorite St. Louis Cardinals.
Chelsey Klenke – Missouri Baptist
Chelsey grew up around Edwardsville, Illinois. She moved to St. Louis when she began college at Missouri Baptist University, where she is majoring in Psychology and Human Services. She found out about the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis through an internet search and began reading more about this awesome organization and thought it would be perfect for an internship. Chelsey says, “There are so many amazing programs that DSAGSL offers, and I knew I would be able to learn a lot from all of the staff. I plan to work at a non-profit organization when I graduate in the spring of 2015.”
Liz Hickey – St. Louis University
“My name is Liz Hickey and I interned with the DSAGSL throughout the summer. What drew me to the organization was it’s passion to help those families and individuals with Down syndrome. The programs and services the DSAGSL provides are amazing, and I was most interested in getting involved with the various programs that are offered. The work that each member of the DSAGSL does is remarkable, and I have been lucky enough and extremely grateful to be a little part of it all!” Currently, Liz is a senior at Saint Louis University studying Psychology and Sociology. She hopes to continue working within a non-profit setting. She is originally from Chicago, and loves the Cubs and Blackhawks. In free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, being outdoors and reading. Deep dish pizza is her favorite, and she recommends Lou Malnati’s when you visit Chicago!
Whether you can’t wait to get them on the bus or you have the back to school blues, there are things you can do to help your child with Down syndrome transition back into the school year.
Getting your Student Ready for School
Create before school/after school routines – use a checklist with pictures or words to help your child become as independent as possible in getting ready for school as well as after school. This list can include things like putting on clothes, eating breakfast, brushing teeth. After school list might include snack time, homework time, reading. Use rewards for completing tasks and to keep your child motivated.
Visit the classroom/school ahead of time. Show your child the important places and how to get there (locker, cafeteria, nurse, bathroom, gym)
Introduce your child to his/her teachers and other important school personnel before school starts. Get the e-mail address of each one. Take pictures of each teacher.
Create a social story (using the pictures) about going back to school.
Create a document about your child (include basic family/contact info, interests, accomplishments, effective social and behavioral strategies). Share this with all teachers/school personnel.
Have your child or help your child create something they can share about their summer (using pictures and/or words).
Getting your School Ready for Your Student
Communicating with Your Child’s Team – Regular communication with your child’s team is crucial to success in the classroom.
Who - Teachers, Special Educators, Paraprofessional, Therapists, Nurse, Counselor
What – Share information about your child, any support plans, “Supporting the Student with Down Syndrome – Information for Teachers”, summary of IEP goals, DSAGSL seminars and conferences
How - Communicate using a Home/School notebook or binder, e-mail, team meetings, or individual meetings
When – Weekly e-mails to the team on Sunday night/Monday morning, if issues are developing intervene early, in May – discuss transition to the next grade, in August – meet new teachers, share information about Ds
If you have specific questions regarding back to school or the resources listed here, please contact our office at (314)961-2504.
This blog was written by a representative from the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Digging in the dirt, planting a seed, searching for a color in the garden, sitting very still to see the action of a butterfly….these are all a part of the joy of gardening. Gardening is, simply put, an interaction between a person and a plant. That interaction does not require an extensive knowledge of horticulture or a complete set of the best tools but rather what is needed is a desire to engage and a “living” space.
A child with a disability has the ability to use their senses on many levels to make a connection in the garden. Encourage a child to make observations by touching, smelling, looking, listening and yes, tasting.
Rub a leaf to notice the texture…..soft, smooth, sticky, “hairy”
Pick a seed pod and shake it to see if it makes noise
Rub the leaves of an herb and smell your fingers
Pick a few mint leaves, wash them and taste where the flavor of gum comes from
Use color samples to find matching colors in the garden
What better way to connect a child to the garden than to make it their own? Planting a few seeds of basil in a pot and being responsible for their care can be the start of a lifetime of gardening, for children and parents. Once a seed is planted, have the child check the soil with their finger everyday…..is it wet or dry? Water as needed and as the plant grows, talk about what is happening. The stem is getting taller, leaves start budding, the leaves have a smell to them. Create a journal to track the growth of your plant and before you know it, basil will be in your dinner. Harvesting from a plant that your child started from seed is what gardening is all about!