Bringing you important info about topics that matter.

The DSAGSL will bring you a recap of what you might have missed in previous weeks as well as additional information about other important topics. If you would like more information about a particular issue featured in this edition, contact Erin at

Upcoming Events/Programs you don't want to miss:

  Topic for June Coffee Talk
  Tuesday, June 17
  6 - 7pm at the DSAGSL Office

The DSAGSL will bring you "Down Syndrome & Alzheimer's disease."
Join us at Coffee Talk for some insight on this topic. Learn the
  signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and how Down
  syndrome and Alzheimer's intersect.
For more information about
  this unique workshop, contact Erin at

Dual Diagnosis: Autism and Down Syndrome Support Group taking summer off
Please note this information if you regularly attend the support group in conjunction with Easter Seals Midwest.  The group will resume again in the fall.  Save the date for Tuesday, September 2 at 6:30pm at Easter Seals Midwest.

Special Edition Topic - Potty Training!

Toilet Training Tips/Advice from Parents

1.    There is no magic potty training formula that will work for all children with Down syndrome. Parents will have to try a variety of methods and reinforce what has been learned. Don’t give up and have LOTS of patience!

2.    Once toilet training starts, always change your child in the bathroom so they will make the connection between eliminating and the bathroom.

3.    Put underwear on your child under the pull-up so that the child “feels” wet.  The pull-ups or diapers pull away all the moisture making it hard for a child to feel the sensation of wet next to their skin. Talk about the difference between “wet” and “dry”. Emphasize staying dry.

4.    Children love to look at pictures of themselves.  Create a going potty story using pictures of your child. You can use Word or something similar to put a picture and the steps on each page with a short instruction under it.  Read the story regularly and especially after they have had an accident.

5.    Hang a laminated sheet with the steps with pictures in the bathroom as a reminder.

6.    Create a short video of your child using the bathroom and let them watch it regularly. 

7.    Show your child where the bathroom is at each new place you go – family or friends home, restaurant, store, etc. 

8.    Keep an entire change of clothes (even socks, shoes and wipes) with you for SEVERAL months. 

9.    Use a reward for trying or successfully using the toilet. Something tangible is better than checklist. Some ideas are a small piece of candy, gold fish cracker, bubbles, stamp their hand, etc.

10.  If your child has an accident, have them help as much as is possible with the natural consequences (remove wet clothing, wipe skin, put on dry clothing, take wet clothes to the laundry area). This should not be fun for the child in hopes that they realize it is just easier to stop what they are doing and go to the bathroom.

11.  If the child just won’t stop what they are doing to go, you may need to restrict access to whatever the child was doing when they had the accident (if he/she was watching TV, didn’t stop to go potty and had an accident, then no TV for xx minutes).

12.  Keep a special book that they can only have access to in the bathroom.

13.  Put your child in fairly loose pants/shorts so they can more easily pull them down.

14.  Our OT did a great job of helping us focus on developing a clear routine around toileting very early, rewarding any behanior she could do herself, and focus on the routine rather than success with toileting. We have tried lots and lots of different ideas and tools, but I think that this excellent advice was the most helpful. And being patient, very patient.

15.  Buy a doll that has its own potty chair. Keep the doll potty chair in the
bathroom as well. The doll can "go potty" while the child does. Click here for the website.

16.  If your child is nonverbal, teach the sign for potty.

17. The Potty Stool. Click here for the website.

18.  Potty alarm has been what helped our child "get it." We got the flat sensor attachment (not the clip-on and sewed pockets in her underward. We still use it a home, but she's doing great at school without it. Until we got the alarm, she wasn't communicating with us when she was wet - now she askes for the potty. Click here for the website.

Additional Toilet Training Resources

     Online Articles
From the National Down Syndrome Society
          Toilet Training Children with Down Syndrome
          Toilet Training Children with Developmental Delays
          Toilet Training Made Semi-Easy
          One Place for Special Needs
          Potty Training a Child with Special Needs

          DSAGSL Sharing Our Strategies
          Down Syndrome Potty Training

     Books in the DSAGSL Library
(can be checked out for a period of 6 weeks - call to see if available)
The No-Cry Potty Training Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan H. Azrin and Richard M. Foxx
          Toilet Training Persons with Developmental Disabilities by Nathan H. Azrin and
               Richard M. Foxx

          Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism and Other Developmental Issues by
               Maria Wheeler

          Steps to Independence (Chapter 10) by Bruce L. Baker and Alan J. Brightman

     Books on Amazon
          Toilet Training Success:
A Guide for Teaching Individuals with Developmental

See Me Potty

Month of June Topic - Care of Self, Care of Others

Coffee Talk - Care of Self, Care of Others
On Tuesday, May 20th we were welcomed by Connie Fisher, LCSW, Director of Mental Health Promotion at Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri. She shared with us important information about common stressors care-takers experience as well as strategies for stress management and self-care. You can also find the information archived at the DSAGSL website.

If you’re feeling signs of stress, you’re not alone. Surveys show that one third of Americans are living with extreme stress. Stress can be toxic to your entire body. Know the signs...

          1.    Skin – Acne and other skin problems.

          2.    Muscles and Joints – Muscle aches and tension (especially in the neck,
         shoulders and back), increased risk of bone density.

          3.    Heart – Faster heartbeat, rise in blood pressure, increased risk of high
         cholesterol and heart attack.

          4.    Stomach – Nausea, stomach pain, heartburn and weight gain.

          5.    Pancreas – Increased risk of diabetes.

          6.    Intestines – Diarrhea, constipation and other digestive problems.

          7.    Immune system – Lowered ability to fight or recover from illness.

And how to battle stress...

          1.    Be realistic. If you are overwhelmed, learn to say “no.” Eliminate activities
         that are not absolutely necessary.

          2.    Shed the “superman/superwoman” urge. No one is perfect, so don’t expect
         perfection from yourself or others. Ask for help if you need it!

          3.    Meditate. – Just ten to twenty minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from
         chronic stress. Listen to music, relax and think of pleasant things or nothing at

          4.    Visualize – Use your imagination and picture how you can manage a stressful
         situation more successfully.

          5.    Exercise – Twenty to thirty minutes of moderate activity daily benefits the
         mind and body.

          6.    Hobbies – Take a break from your worries by doing something you enjoy!

          7.    Healthy life style – Good nutrition makes a difference. Limit caffeine and
         alcohol (alcohol disturbs regular sleep patterns.)

Additional Resources
For more information about mental wellness and stress management, visit The Mental Health America website. The DSAGSL attempts to offer as much information online for parents and caregivers across our region. You can visit the resource section of the DSAGSL website for access to information on many topics!

If you have specific questions or concerns about your child’s behavior, feel free to contact our office at 314.961.2504 or join our private Facebook group “DSAGSL Sharing Our Strategies.”

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Visit our calendar online for events from us, our community groups, third party fundraisers along with Pujols Family Foundation, Albert Pujols Wellness Center at St. Luke's and DADS St. Louis!

Save the Date!

Family Movie Night - June 27
Birdies and Bass - July 14
Night at the Magic House - July 21
Lego Nature Connects - August 9
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