Down Syndrome Super Star #3 – Ms. B

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

This is “Ms. B” as Brian calls her. She is a teacher’s aide in my son’s Headstart classroom. I can not express how grateful we are to have her working with Brian. She goes so far above and beyond her duties in the classroom.  Ms. B even stays one day a week after school to give individualized extra instruction on skills Brian is working on in class and therapy. She went to the DSAGSL workshop in Cape Girardeau, and is planning on attending some seminars in St. Louis so she can further her education on Down Syndrome and help Brian maximize his potential.  The love and care she gives to Brian and our family is just amazing. We love and appreciate all of Brian’s teachers, but Ms. B has a special place in our hearts.

-Charlie Cox, parent to Brian

Bodies and Boundaries – by Linda Kronmiller

Linda Kronmiller is a parent of an individual with Down syndrome and leads the Bodies and Boundaries Workshop series.

Many years ago I attended a workshop about Social Stories.  It sounded like a great tool to use with my son Eric. I didn’t do anything with the information until several years later after meeting with a behavior therapist regarding some behaviors that Eric was exhibiting that needed to be addressed….right away!

Social Stories became a big part of our lives and they still are to this day!  Our very first experience using a social story was truly a miracle for Eric and our family!  We now have three binders chock full of stories that have helped Eric to learn appropriate behaviors.

The Bodies and Boundaries Workshop series will introduce you and your child/teen to this great tool in addition to some great visual supports to use with your child/teen.  There are four sessions where you will be creating a binder that addresses hygiene, public and private behaviors, appropriate touch and appropriate use of words.  The binder can be used daily or weekly in your home with your child/teen to reinforce appropriate behaviors when it comes to bodies and boundaries.  The binder is designed so that you can add additional information that may be very specific to your child/teen.  During the workshop you work directly with your child/teen creating the binder.  Persons who have already participated in the workshop really enjoyed it.

I hope to see you at the Bodies and Boundaries workshop!

Down Syndrome Super Star #2 – Ashley

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

“My daughter, Ashley, is not just an advocate for her daughter who has Down syndrome. She is active with organizations around Fresno, California. She is a wonderful mother.” -Scott Swartz

Down Syndrome Super Star #1 – Kirkwood KinderCare Staff

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

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!

-JJ Gossrau, parent of Will

Being an Aunt – by Abeo Anwisye

Being an Aunt is the greatest thing on Earth. I like playing with my nieces and nephews. They are a lot of fun.

They love having me around them, too.  They are always showing me their toys.  I’m glad to have all my nieces and nephews around.

Recently, I became a new Aunt!

About Me – by Ethan Schroeder

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 by Penny Long

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 First Concert – by Lindsey Hawkins

This is a story about a concert.

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 concert was amazing night for both of us.

I am now a fan of One Direction and concerts!

DSAGSL Interns

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!

Back to School by Christy Klaus

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.