Breast-feeding Your Baby

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Created by Marianne Pastore, RN MassGeneral Hospital for Children

BREAST-FEEDING BASICS

All babies benefit from breast-feeding or receiving breast milk. Breast-feeding can:

  • Promote eye and brain development
  • Lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

  • Improve mouth and tongue coordination, which will help speech skills

  • Create a special bond with your baby

 

There are, however, special benefits for babies with Down syndrome:

  • Babies with Down syndrome have a higher risk of infection. The mother’s body makes antibodies, which she passes on to her baby during breast-feeding. Antibodies help protect your baby against infection.
  • Breast milk is very easy to digest, and this is helpful for infants who may have stomach problems related to Down syndrome.

  • Skin to skin contact during breast-feeding helps stimulate babies who have low muscle tone, or weak muscles.

 

GETTING STARTED

When any baby learns to breast-feed, it takes time and patience. Getting off to the best start helps you and your baby succeed with breast-feeding.

  •  Start breast-feeding as soon after birth as possible.
  • Have skin to skin contact with your baby as much as you can. Touch helps increase the breast-feeding hormones. A baby is also likely to begin rooting or nuzzling at the breast and may actually latch-on when having skin to skin contact.

  • Feed your baby often, 8 to 12 times in 24 hours, including feedings during the night.

  • Get comfortable before you start to feed.

  • Position your baby so their body and chin are well supported. This is especially helpful for a

    baby with low muscle tone. The nurses will help you with this in the hospital.

  • Know where to go for help and support after you leave the hospital.

 

IS MY BABY GETTING ENOUGH MILK?

You can be sure your baby is getting enough milk if you watch for the following:

  • Your baby should be breast-feeding 8 to 12 times in 24 hours
  • After a week, your baby should have 6 to 8 wet diapers and 3 bowel movements that are yellow, soft and seedy

  • Your baby with Down syndrome should gain at least 4 ounces per week

 

BREAST-FEEDING CHALLENGES

Babies with Down syndrome may face some special challenges that might affect breast-feeding. There are many things you can do to work through these challenges and have success.

 

Low muscle tone

Your baby may have low muscle tone, or weak muscles, especially in their tongue and lips. To help babies with low muscle tone during breast- feeding, do the following:

  • Keep your baby’s body and chin well supported
  • Support the base of your baby’s head with your hand. Too much pressure on the back of your baby’s head can cause a poor latch.

 

Sleepiness

Your baby may be extra sleepy, which can affect feeding patterns. Babies who fall asleep may also not get enough milk, especially the end milk or “hind milk.” End milk has extra fat and calories which help your baby to grow.

  • Dim the lights in the room so your baby doesn’t have to close his or her eyes against the light
  • Remove all of your baby’s clothing except the diaper to help keep him or her alert

  • Wash your baby’s face with a wet cloth

  • Gently stroke and talk to your baby during the feed

  • Compress and massage your breast while breast-feeding. This will help the milk flow and keep your baby interested in breast-feeding. 

 

Tongue Thrusting

Babies with Down syndrome may have a protruding tongue that pushes against your nipple. To help these babies breast-feed, try the following:

  • Wait for your baby to open wide (like a yawn) with his tongue forward and down
  • Gently press down on your baby’s chin. Opening the jaw will help the tongue come forward.

  • Teach your baby how to keep his or her tongue down. Put your index finger on the center of your baby’s tongue. Push down and gently pull your finger out.

  • Allow your baby to suck on your finger so he develops rhythmic sucking rather than biting.

     

WHAT IF MY BABY IS NOT BREAST-FEEDING?

Some babies might not breast-feed while at the hospital. Your medical staff can help you create
an individual feeding plan to make sure your baby gets all the nutrition he needs to grow and thrive. After you leave the hospital, you will meet often with your pediatrician who will help make changes to the feeding plan as needed. During this time, it is important to build and protect your milk supply. Building a milk supply usually happens if your baby is breast-feeding a lot. If your baby is not breast-feeding, the medical staff will help teach you how to get a double electric breast pump and how to pump your breasts. In the end, some babies do not breast-feed. However, giving your baby your breast milk from a pump will still give your baby all the wonderful benefits.

 

SUPPORT

Your nurse in the hospital will help you with breast-feeding. She will also arrange a visit with
a lactation, or breast-feeding, consultant during your stay. The more help and support you have, the more successful you will be. It is important to check with your pediatrician to see if they have a staff member who can help with breast-feeding or make a referral to someone who can. Ask your nurse in the hospital for available resources. Zipmilk.org is a great website that can provide you with Lactation Consultants, La Leche League Groups and other support groups in your community.

This is intended to provide health related information so that you may be be er informed. It is not a substitute for a doctor’s medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions. 

Meet a DSAW Leader: Mary West

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Hi! My name is Mary West. I joined DSAW Family Services in 2015 and currently serve as a daily life skills specialist, IEP/Behavior specialist, and a job developer/coach.  There are few things that I enjoy more than helping my clients succeed and watching their joy when they do.  This truly is my dream job!

My background is as an elementary special education teacher.  I hold a bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Youth Leadership and a masters degree in Exceptional Education, both from UW-Milwaukee.  I come to DSAW Family Services after just over a decade of working in elementary schools, first as a paraprofessional in the Whitefish Bay School District, and then as a teacher in the West Bend School District.

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I’ve been married to my amazing husband since August of 2014.  We are hoping to start a family soon.  We enjoy spending time with our family and friends, as well as travelling.  In the past few years I’ve been to such far off places as Thailand and Cambodia.  However, I’m just as happy traveling within the U.S. to spend as much time as possible with my awesome nieces and nephews, or following the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team, of which I am a huge fan.  Go Badgers!

Taking on my position with DSAW Family Services is one of the greatest decisions that I’ve ever made.  I love spending time with my clients and enjoy that every day is a new adventure.  In particular, I love helping clients find jobs.  Sharing in the joy of watching a young person with a disability succeed in his or her first job is something that never ceases to bring me happiness.

I cannot imagine working with better colleagues and clients on an everyday basis.  I look forward to meeting more of you as my journey with DSAW Family Services continues!

"We Absolutely Couldn't Ask for More!"

Does your family need one-on-one support for your loved one with Down syndrome? Do you need help with IEPs, inclusion, or speech? Are you struggling with behavior problems and need a custom solution? Do you need to find respite care? Does your loved one need help securing transportation, housing, caregivers, or employment? Would you like to develop a 5- or 10-year plan for your loved one to help them reach their goals?

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DSAW-Family Services can help with ALL of this, and more! DSAW-FS provides one-on-one services to individuals with Down syndrome and other special needs and their families, helping individuals take their rightful place in the community and achieve their full level of independence. Whatever obstacle you are facing, DSAW-Family Services can help!

DSAW-FS has been working with Kathryn for a couple of years. She has received daily life-skills training, job coaching, and one-on-one support to help her achieve her dreams. Kathryn's mom, Julie, says that with DSAW-FS, Kathryn "has accomplished so much and her success has been wonderful!" DSAW-Family Services has matched Kathryn with a support worker that has been life-changing for Kathryn and her family. "It is so important to us to have a long-term and REAL relationship with our provider...DSAW-FS has provided Kathryn with exactly what she has needed, when she needed it."

With the help of DSAW-Family Services, Kathryn is living a fulfilling and active life in the community. She has two jobs, she volunteers at DSAW, is involved in Project Search, and participates in Special Olympics. Julie says that she "absolutely couldn't ask for more!"

When you support DSAW, you support the services that have helped people like Kathryn thrive. Would you consider giving others an amazing life this holiday season? By donating to DSAW, you can.

Warmly, 
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin 

PS - Only 5 days left for your donation to qualify for a dollar for dollar match thanks to a generous donor. Make your donation today!

Looking Back on December 2017

Milwaukee

Holiday Party
We welcomed 300+ people to our DSAW-Greater Milwaukee Area Holiday Party on December 16!! We had music, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, a hot chocolate bar, games, and more! Santa and some of his elves came down to visit from the North Pole, and they brought presents for over 150 children! We had a delicious homemade lunch of turkey, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, jello, and veggies. Texas Roadhouse donated pulled pork too! We raffled off a gingerbread making kit and busted some moves on the dance floor. Thank you so much to all of our families who joined us. We love you, and we hope you have a safe, fun holiday season!

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Young Leaders Bootcamp
December Bootcamp was Holiday Baking month!! At the beginning of the month, we made sugar cookie dough to use for cookie decorating at our DSAW-Sheboygan Holiday Party! Then we made some cookies for ourselves to enjoy!

Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Join us in January to make a music video!!

Cooking with the Kiddos
At Cooking with the Kiddos in December, families made customized personal pizzas!  Cook with us next month and sign up here!

Motor Skills Playgroup
Our Motor Skills Playgroup meets every second and fourth Tuesday morning! This group is a fun chance for children to learn occupational therapy skills in a free environment, while parents enjoy coffee and each other's company. Join us in January!

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Young Leaders Academy
Our Young Leaders Academy meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month. This month we did yoga to help us slow down during the busy holiday season, and we ended with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime.  Come out to Young Leaders in January!

Tween Club
This month at Tween Club we spent the night tie dying DSAW sweatshirts!! Next month's Tween Club will be on Friday, January 12. Click here to sign up!

Parent's Night Out
In December, DSAW parents, grandparents, and caregivers got together at Club Paragon again for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers. We meet every second Friday of the month! Drop your child off at Tween Club on January 12 and stop by our Parent's Night Out!


Chippewa Valley

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Holiday Party
At the beginning of December, DSAW-Chippewa Valley hosted a big Holiday Party at Cabin Ridge! We had delicious food, a "sleigh" ride through the woods, hot chocolate to warm up, and a visit from Santa and his elves!! A big thank you to everyone involved!


La Crosse

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Holiday Party
It sure is the most WONDERFUL time of the year!  DSAW-COTH-GLA family and friends gathered to celebrate the magic of the season on December 16 at our annual Holiday Party.  There was soccer, football, dancing, a bounce house, a parachute game; all kinds of fun for all ages.  When we took a well-deserved break for lunch, we went around the room highlighting the 2017 accomplishments of each individual with Down syndrome- TRULY INSPIRING!  It was great to see old friends and make new friends, share knowledge about our experiences, and support the families that are new to this journey. We even had a surprise visitor from the North Pole.    


North Central WI (Antigo)

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Culver's Family Social
DSAW is beginning to expand its Parent Support Groups in North Central WI, specifically in Antigo. We had our second event in December - a Culver's Family Social! Come bowling with us in January! If you live in North Central WI and want to get involved with DSAW, join our Facebook group!


Central WI

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Winter Fest
Our Central WI chapter hosted a Winter Fest party on Saturday, December 9! We got together for crafts and activities, snacks, and a visit from Santa! Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us.

 

 


Sheboygan

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Holiday Party
DSAW families in Sheboygan joined us in celebrating the holidays at Odyssey Fun Center this month! We started off with holiday crafts, music, and cookie decorating, and then we spent the afternoon bowling! Thanks to all who participated and helped us prepare for the event!


Green Bay

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Playgroup
DSAW-Green Bay hosted its monthly playgroup at Kidz Town in December. Individuals with Down syndrome are free! Come play with us on Saturday, January 6!

Holiday Movie Event
DSAW-Green Bay families celebrated the holidays together at De Pere Cinema on December 16! We watched a winter favorite - Frozen!


 

Fox Cities

Teen FrienDS Club and Parent's Night Out
On the second Friday of every month, we host our Teen FrienDS Club at our office in Appleton in conjunction with a Parent's Night Out! Parents are invited to drop their teens off at our office for a night of games, snacks, movies, and friends; then they head over to a local restaurant for free appetizers and an evening of casual conversation! Come join us next month on January 12!


We Can't Do It Without You!

We have many incredible volunteers that make what we do at DSAW possible. Some of you might know Susan, who volunteers at our State Headquarters in West Allis. Susan helps every Tuesday at Bootcamp, Friday nights at Tween Club, and at events throughout the year. 

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"The path leading me to DSAW was unexpected and unplanned, as is often the case for amazing things in one's life." She wanted to learn more about Down syndrome after hearing about a local business started by a woman with Down syndrome. Her search led her to DSAW, and she has been volunteering with us since March.

Now, her favorite part about volunteering is sharing with the self-advocates: "thoughts, goals, jokes, favorite things, experiences, likes and dislikes, mistakes, knowledge, strengths and challenges, activities. In short, everything friends share."

Susan has been invaluable to our work at DSAW. She lights up our office with her passionate spirit and her desire to serve. She truly believes that "starting small can and does make a difference" and suggests that "if you can't volunteer, then donate. If you can't donate, then volunteer. If you can't do either, then advocate, educate, and always watch for opportunities that can use your talents and resources." 

We could not serve our loved ones with Down syndrome or offer life-changing programs and services without our wonderful volunteers and donors. Will you give back to DSAW this holiday season? Consider donating your time, talent, and/or treasure to help us accomplish our mission.

Warmly, 
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin 

The Novaceks

When you make a gift to the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin, you fund life-changing programs and services that support thousands of people around the state. For Stephanie and Tom, the Parent's First Call program has been invaluable on their journey. 

When Stephanie was pregnant with Tommy, a prenatal test indicated a high probability that their son would have Down syndrome.

"We were surprised at the number of times termination was brought up, simply based on the high likelihood of having a baby with Down syndrome." They received few messages of congratulations or excitement. At first, they were terrified about what the diagnosis meant for Tommy and for them. 

However, their attitude quickly changed after becoming connected with DSAW. Through the Parent's First Call program, Stephanie and Tom received resources, fraternal support, and hope. 

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"Our outlook on this new reality, which seemed overwhelming at times, improved greatly after the first Parent's Night Out that we attended. Meeting others with similar stories to ours made life feel normal again. It was refreshing to be able to openly discuss Down syndrome for the first time with people who knew what we were going through." 

Now, more than ever, support for new and expectant parents is vital.Did you know that individuals with Down syndrome are at significant risk to be the first group of people eliminated from the population? 

DSAW is fighting to change this narrative through the Parent's First Call program. This program provides resources, support, and connections to new and expectant parents who have received a Down syndrome diagnosis. DSAW offers Expectant Parent Packs and New Parent Welcome Baskets, and parents have the option to be connected with a trained Support Parent.  

DSAW's Parent's First Call program creates lives of hope, exceeded expectations, immeasurable joy, and unconditional love by wrapping networks of support and resources around parents to address the unique, yet surmountable, challenges facing the Down syndrome community. Since the program's inception in April 2016, DSAW has provided resources and support to more than 70 new and expectant parents across the state and trained more than 50 Support Parents -- and this is just the beginning. The Parent's First Call program is changing lives. 

The Parent's First Call program was so important to Stephanie and Tom that they have now become Support Parents themselves. "The chance to help someone in our same situation is incredible. The Parent's First Call program is the first step to realizing that life with a child with Down syndrome will not be as scary as it may seem, and that everything will be okay." 

Not everyone can be a Support Parent like Stephanie and Tom, but we are counting on the overwhelming support of our community to make the Parent's First Call program a success. When you make a donation to DSAW, you support the Parent's First Call program, along with DSAW's other life-changing programs and services. Together, we can help individuals with Down syndrome exceed expectations and live amazing lives. Will you make a year-end gift to support our vital work? We couldn't do it without you! 

Warmly, 
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin 

Meet a DSAW Leader: Chris Gagne

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Hi, my name is Chris Gagne and I am the new Senior Program Director for DSAW-Family Services.  Before I came to DSAW,  I was a Special Education Teacher for the Shorewood School District and the Slinger School District for 10 years.  My favorite part of my teaching career was traveling with my students to Hawaii and the Florida Everglades and watching them grow through all of the adventures we had together.  

This hints at my previous profession as a Recreation Therapist and my love for the outdoors.  My role as a recreation therapist enabled me to work with adults with acquired brain injuries and the elderly.  I was even a camp director out in California and Nevada for awhile.

Having children settled me into the teaching role, getting my Masters degree in education, and finally finding my way into the DSAW world.  I have two biological children (18 and 21) and one foster son age 13.  My husband is a saint in the making and my kids are all adventurous like myself - one heading to South Africa for a couple of years!

I consider my clients at DSAW -FS an extension of my family - my phone is filled with more pictures of them than my own.  I hope I get a chance to meet more of you in the near future.  DSAW-FS is the best !  We have THE BEST staff and really can not be compared to any other agency out there .... because we love those with DS and other disbilities and want to be a part of shaping their future.

URGENT Advocacy Alert!

Tell your senators to vote NO to the tax-cut bill, which will negatively affect your loved one with Down syndrome.

Wisconsin Senators:
Ron Johnson: (202) 224-5323
Tammy Baldwin: (202) 224-5653

**Please note, Ron Johnson is considering voting NO! We need to inundate his office with calls!** 

Read how the bill hurts people with special needs 

Live somewhere else? Click here to find your Senators


Action Steps:

  • Call, email, tweet our Senators, especially Ron Johnson! Include a photo of you and your loved one with an explanation of how the tax-bill will hurt your family. 
     
  • Go to your Senator's local offices this week! Meet with staff. Print out your story and leave it with them.
     
  • Call your relatives and friends in other states and ask them to take action on your behalf. Main target states are Tennessee (Bob Corker), Arizona (Jeff Flake), Oklahoma (James Lankford), Kansas (Jerry Moran), Maine (Susan Collins), and Montana (Steve Daines). However, ALL Republican Senators should be blanketed with calls!
     
  • One call or contact is not enough. Call them every day, multiple times a day, until the vote!

The bill is expected to go to a vote as early as tomorrow or Friday. Please call, tweet, email, and advocate every day until then! 


Sample Phone Script:

Phone calls are proven to have the largest impact in swaying decisions (as opposed to letters, tweets, etc). It's very easy -- you just call the number and leave a message! Here is a sample script:

"Hi Senator ________:
My name is ________ and I live in CITY, Wisconsin, zip-code _______. I'm calling to ask you to vote NO to the tax bill. This bill is harmful for people with special needs, and will hurt the future of my loved one with Down syndrome, and my family. This bill cuts tax incentives to hire individuals with disabilities, raises taxes on people facing high medical bills, and eliminates the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, among many other things. 
Please vote no. Thank you!"

Where to Start: Resources

The Down Syndrome Clinic is committed to improving the health and well being of children and adults with Down syndrome, which may include complex issues. This requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary health care approach. The DSCW is connected with a statewide network to assist families in need.

 

Birth to Three

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Birth to Three is Wisconsin’s early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. Through it, your child will receive (in most cases) in-home physical, occupational and speech therapy depending on his or her needs, often at little-to-no cost to your family. 

 

DSAW Parent’s First Call

For new and expectant parents of babies with Down syndrome, we offer up-to-date resources (Expectant Parent Packs and New Parent Welcome Baskets), and the opportunity to connect with other parents who have had similar experiences.

1-866-327-3729

 

Katie Beckett Program Supplemental Insurance 

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Children born with DS often experience medical complications at birth, many of which today are corrected with routine procedures. In addition, children with DS will benefit from physical, occupational and speech therapy in their first months and years. The Katie Beckett Medicaid program can cover costs that insurance plans sometimes will not.

 

Family Support Program 

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The Family Support Program offers in-home support for families with children who have severe disabilities. It also offers information and help in finding service programs and community resources, some funding to purchase necessary goods and services unavailable elsewhere and links to other families to build a support network.

 

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DSAW Member Grants and DSAW Meal Assistance Program

DSAW offers Member Grants for DSAW Members to help offset the cost of items or services that can benefit the quality of life and development of a person with Down syndrome. In addition, for families who are experiencing an extended hospital stay at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, we offer meal vouchers for family members

 

Wisconsin First Step 

The mission of Wisconsin First Step is to assist parents in finding resources for their children with special needs. They serve children and youth from birth to age 21 who have physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges.

1-800-642-7837

 

WI FACETS

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The mission of WI FACETS is to provide and broaden opportunities that enhance the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families, with emphasis on support for underserved families in the community.

 

Other Resources

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DSAW has a large collection of international, national, and Wisconsin-specific resources on a variety of topics related to Down syndrome. To learn more, visit our website.


NATIONAL DOWN SYNDROME RESOURCES

 

National Down Syndrome Society

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The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities.

 

National Down Syndrome Congress

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The mission of the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) is to provide information, advocacy and support concerning all aspects of life for individuals with Down syndrome. The vision of the NDSC is a world with equal rights and opportunities for people with Down syndrome.

 

Global Down Syndrome Foundation

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The goal of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation is to significantly improve the lives of people with Down syndrome through Research, Medical Care, Education and Advocacy. Global works to educate governments, educational organizations and society in order to affect legislative and social changes so that every person with Down syndrome has an equitable chance at a satisfying life.


WISCONSIN DOWN SYNDROME RESOURCES

 

Wisconsin Upside Down

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Wisconsin Upside Down is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. The mission of Wisconsin Upside Down is to offer Down syndrome Advocacy, Education, Awareness and Support to families of individuals with Down syndrome and the community.

 

Madison Area Down Syndrome Society

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The mission of the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society, Inc. is to provide support to individuals with Down syndrome and their families while advancing awareness, respect and opportunity.

 

GiGi’s Playhouse

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GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center’s mission is to change the way the world views Down syndrome through national campaigns, educational programs, and by empowering individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community. There are playhouses located in Milwaukee and Madison.

 

Gettin’ Down Central WI

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Gettin’ Down Central WI’s goal is to educate and bring families and the community together to learn acceptance and communicate knowledge. They make new friends, while providing support, sharing resources and information.

Looking Back on November 2017

Milwaukee

Parents attend the parent portion of our Sibling Workshop at our State Headquarters in West Allis.

Parents attend the parent portion of our Sibling Workshop at our State Headquarters in West Allis.

Sibling Workshop
On November 18, DSAW and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Down Syndrome Clinic partnered to present a Sibling Workshop with Dr. Brian Skotko and Sue Levine. The workshop was for siblings who have a brother or sister with Down syndrome. There also was a session especially for parents with children of all ages, which covered how parents can help typically-abled siblings deal with questions, difficult life moments, negative feelings, and more. There were games, discussion groups, a pizza lunch, and more. Thank you so much to Dr. Skotko and Sue for facilitating this workshop! 

Young Leaders Bootcamp
Bootcamp in November focused on carpentry! Self-advocates learned about several different tools and safety procedures, and then they had a chance to make projects with those tools! One night we made wooden bird houses, another night we made customized wooden signs, and our final project was working to build shelves for the DSAW office!

Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Join us in December for Holiday Baking month!

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Cooking with the Kiddos
We had a large group this month at Cooking with the Kiddos! One night we made pumpkin bread, and another we made tacos and dessert quesadillas. Cooking with the Kiddos is a fun evening of family bonding, plus a free meal... what could be better?! Due to the holidays, we will only meet the first Wednesday of December - the 6th. Cook with us next month and sign up here!

Motor Skills Playgroup
We again hosted our bi-weekly Motor Skills Playgroup at our State office! This group is a fun chance for children to learn occupational therapy skills in a free environment, while parents enjoy coffee and each other's company. Due to the holidays, we will only have playgroup on Tuesday, December 12 this month. Sign up here! 

Young Leaders Academy
Self-Advocates joined us for our bi-weekly Young Leaders Academy only once in November, because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Every class involves a respite activity such as kickball or yoga, and then ends with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime.  Come out to Young Leaders in December! We will only be hosting one session on Thursday, December 14 due to the holidays.

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Tween Club
At Tween Club in November we made Thanksgiving turkeys and played balloon volleyball! We had 15 tweens join us this month. Tween Club in December will be on December 8. Sign up here!

Parent's Night Out
Each month DSAW parents, grandparents, and caregivers look forward to going to Club Paragon for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers. November was no different! We had a lovely group join us. Drop your child off at Tween Club on December 8 and join us for Parent's Night Out next month!

Grandparents Group
Grandparents who have a loved one with Down syndrome meet at our state office on the first Tuesday of each month. This group is growing, and we would love to have you there! Come see what it's all about on December 5.


Central WI

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November Beach Party
This month, our Central WI chapter hosted a free November Beach Party in Rothschild! Over 100 people of all ages came out for our waterpark event, and we had so much fun splashing around and meeting new families!! 

 

Mom's Coffee Date
DSAW-Central WI also hosted a Mom's Coffee Date in November at the new Vino Latte in Wausau! Several moms with children who have Down syndrome got together over coffee to talk and offer support.


St. Croix River Valley

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Family Bowling Event
DSAW is beginning to expand its Parent Support Groups in the St. Croix River Valley. We hosted our third event in the area in November - a Family Bowling Day! About 30 people came out to spend time with other DSAW families and to enjoy an afternoon of bowling! Click here to join our Facebook group!


Green Bay

Playgroup
DSAW-Green Bay hosted its monthly playgroup at Kidz Town in November. Individuals with Down syndrome are free! Explore this awesome location with us on Saturday, December 2. 

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Parent's First Call Support Parent Training
Parents from around the state came to Green Bay to attend our Support Parent Training through our Parent's First Call Program. On November 4, 12 parents learned how to offer support for families who have just received a Down syndrome diagnosis. Thank you to Parent to Parent of Wisconsin for their continued partnership and to Journey Community Church for letting us use their beautiful space! Special thanks to Robin and Julie from P2P, to Emily from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, and to all of the parents who joined us!

Mom's Night Out
We went up to Sturgeon Bay for our monthly Mom's Night Out at Door County Fire Co. in November! We enjoyed delicious food and an evening with other moms, aunts, grandmas, adult sisters, and female caregivers who have a loved one with Down syndrome. We will NOT have a Mom's Night Out in December due to the holidays.


Fox Cities

Teen FrienDS Club and Parent's Night Out
On the second Friday of every month, we host our Teen FrienDS Club at our office in Appleton in conjunction with a Parent's Night Out! Parents are invited to drop their teens off at our office for a night of games, snacks, movies, and friends; then they head over to a local restaurant for free appetizers and an evening of casual conversation! Join us on Friday, December 8!


Sheboygan

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Parent's Night Out
DSAW-Sheboygan parents and grandparents got together for a casual night of conversation and free appetizers in November! This month we met in Fond du Lac at a pub right on the lake.

 


La Crosse

Parent's Night Out
Parents from our DSAW-COTH-GLA chapter hung out at Shenanigans in La Crosse in November. DSAW provided free appetizers, and several couples enjoyed fraternal support from other DSAW adults.


Andrew's Story

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Today is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back to the community. We'd like to share Andrew's story, in his own words, with you today to show you the ways that people with Down syndrome exceed expectations.

My name is Andrew. I have an amazing life. In 1988 when I was in kindergarten, I was in a classroom with kids who had no disabilities. That was really important. It is called inclusion. That is how my education continued, almost always alongside students without disabilities.

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In 2002, I decided on a career in child care. There were plenty of people who said I would never get hired, but I did not pay a whole lot of attention to them. I had high employment expectations and worked to make my dreams come true. I have worked at the YMCA in the child care center for the past ten years. I work with four- and five-year-old children in my community. I love my job! 

About six years ago, I moved out of my parents' home and into my own apartment. That was one of the most exciting days of my life! I always wanted to live on my own. I also took an online driver's education course and got my temporary license.

I have been recognized as a good spokesperson or advocate for others who have disabilities. I have been invited to speak at conferences, fundraisers, and schools. With lots of help from my support team at DSAW-Family Services, I have started Andrew's Voice, a motivational speaking business. Check out my website!

Starting a business is not easy, but I am eager to help others who have disabilities. Sometimes I help others by giving them job coaching. Sometimes I help with life skills training. I work at DSAW now with two other self-advocate interns.

I have many people to thank for making my amazing life possible. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you my amazing story.

By supporting DSAW today, you help our loved ones with Down syndrome to exceed the expectations society sets. You provide transitioning services, job training, fraternal support, driver's education, and so much more.

Andrew has an amazing life. You can give others the same opportunities by donating to DSAW today.

Warmly,
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin

PS - Consider donating your savings from Black Friday and Cyber Monday to DSAW! It's an easy way to support your local community.

We Need Your Help!

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Last year, Americans spent an average of $124 on Cyber Monday. However, will you take a break from shopping to read this email? The Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin changes lives across the state, and we need your help.

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back to the community in the midst of a week of spending.

In honor of tomorrow, we'd like to share the story of Michelle and Brian.

In 2007, Michelle and Brian were expecting twin baby girls and were heartbroken when one of their daughters was stillborn. It was only after they were born that they learned both girls had Down syndrome.

In the hospital, Michelle and Brian received a packet of information, including a few books - most of which they promptly threw away. The first book they opened immediately mentioned institutions. 

"When I was holding my new daughter, I wanted to know what the future looked like - not in medical terms or statistics, but what would our family be like, how would she fit in with us?"

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DSAW parents around the state were noticing this same trend: outdated resources, filled with doom and gloom messages about individuals with Down syndrome, were the first materials parents read after a diagnosis.

Now, through the Parent's First Call Program, DSAW provides medical professionals and parents with accurate, unbiased, up-to-date resources about Down syndrome. We want to ensure that everyone understands how amazing our loved ones with Down syndrome are.

Michelle and Brian have loved raising a daughter with Down syndrome so much that they made the decision to adopt a second daughter with Down syndrome, too.

"I can't even guess how many people used to say 'I'm so sorry!' when we would say our daughter has Down syndrome  -- and I used to say, 'Don't be sorry, she's awesome!'  I don't know how much they believed me before we adopted Lilya. If voluntarily adding another child to our family who has Down syndrome doesn't tell you we're fine with Down syndrome, I don't know what will!"

By supporting DSAW on Giving Tuesday, you make it possible to support families around the state from the moments following a diagnosis until transition and beyond. We even support families in adopting a child with Down syndrome, just like Michelle and Brian did.

Tomorrow's the day. Will you donate to DSAW on Giving Tuesday?

Warmly,
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin

PS - As you scoop up big deals today, consider donating your savings tomorrow on Giving Tuesday. It's an easy way to give back!

Meet Beth and Kevin

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day to reflect on all that we're thankful for. Many families go right from pumpkins and ghosts to holiday music and candy canes, without pausing to give Thanksgiving much attention. Consider this: What is most important to you today?

For Beth and Kevin, DSAW plays a significant role in the things for which they are thankful. Beth feels that "Today, DSAW is our family. There's no other way to say it." But it wasn't always that way. There was a time before DSAW. A time when they were left scared and confused. 

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After utilizing several fertility experts, Beth and Kevin were "full of happiness and excitement" at their 5 1/2 month ultrasound. This mood quickly shifted as a specialist came in and "callously told us that they strongly believed the baby had Down syndrome. There was no congratulations, no small talk first, he showed no happiness for our baby or compassion for us as parents." They yearned for one "congratulations," one story of someone with Down syndrome exceeding expectations.

After their horrible diagnosis experience, Beth and Kevin knew that they were called to be Support Parents to other new and expectant parents through DSAW's Parent's First Call program. "It gives us so much happiness...to be able to pay it forward and to help make a Down syndrome diagnosis just a little less scary."

"There is so much focus put on having a 'perfect' baby. We want to share that this baby IS perfect, just as we all are in our own way." 

By supporting DSAW on Giving Tuesday, you can make it possible for us to train more Support Parents. To give more families a "congratulations" instead of an "I'm sorry." To change the narrative around a Down syndrome diagnosis. 

Today, I encourage you to think about how important our children and our families are. It's important to start off parenting a child with Down syndrome with hope and support. You can help give parents the unbiased information and the experience that they deserve by donating to DSAW on Giving Tuesday.

Warmly,
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin

PS - As you scoop up big deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consider donating your savings on Giving Tuesday. It's an easy way to give back!

Looking Back on October 2017

Milwaukee

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Halloween Dance
The DSAW-Milwaukee Halloween dance was on Saturday, October 28 at our State headquarters! Over 150 people joined us for a night of dancing, crafts, games, homemade lasagna, and a costume competition! We LOVED all of your creative costumes. Thank you to all who attended!

Young Leaders Bootcamp
October was Art Month for our Young Leaders Bootcamp! Self-advocates designed a mural for our State office, and then made their design come to life! We had so much fun painting and brightening up our programming room (especially when we got to paint our hands for the leaves of the tree)!

 Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Sign up here!

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Cooking with the Kiddos
This month at Cooking with the Kiddos we made a delicious meal of chicken teriyaki! Cooking with the Kiddos is a fun evening of family bonding, plus a free meal... what could be better?! We meet the first and third Wednesday of every month. Cook with us next month and sign up here!

Motor Skills Playgroup
We again hosted our bi-weekly Motor Skills Playgroup at our State office! This group is a fun chance for children to learn occupational therapy skills in a free environment, while parents enjoy coffee and each other's company. Join us in November to hang out with other families and let your child play!

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Young Leaders Academy
Self-Advocates joined us for our bi-weekly Young Leaders Academy twice in October. Every class involves a respite activity such as kickball or yoga, and then ends with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime.  Come out to Young Leaders in November! We will only be hosting one session on Thursday, November 9 due to the Thanksgiving holiday later in the month.

Tween Club
At Tween Club in October we watched Descendants 2 and made spooky Halloween masks! Tween Club in November will be on November 10. Sign up here!

Parent's Night Out
Parents, grandparents, and caregivers enjoyed going to Club Paragon for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers again in October. Drop your child off at Tween Club on November 10 and join us for Parent's Night Out next month!

Grandparents Group
Grandparents of a loved one with Down syndrome meet at our state office on the first Tuesday of each month! We had another big group in October. Come join us on November 7th.


Sheboygan

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Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
DSAW-Sheboygan & Surrounding Counties hosted its 8th Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk at Kiwanis Park in Sheboygan on October 14th. Despite the rainy weather, we had an awesome day of raffle prizes, Home Depot mini carpenters, crafts, carnival games, lunch from Texas Roadhouse, and more! Thank you to all of our sponsors, donors, committee members, families, and volunteers! We could not have done it without you.


Fox Cities

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October was a huge month for DSAW-Fox Cities!! On October 1, we hosted a Mom's Night Out at Stone Arch Brew Pub in Appleton. We also continued our Teen FrienDS Club and Parent's Night Out on the second Friday of the month. On top of all that, we held our biggest event of the year -- our Down Syndrome Awareness Walk! Families joined us at Riverside Park in Neenah on October 7th for an afternoon of family fun and raising awareness and acceptance of our loved ones with Down syndrome! Check out news coverage of the event here.


La Crosse

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Parent's Night Out
Members of DSAW-COTH-GLA spent most of October resting after their amazing Awareness Walk in September! We hosted a Parent's Night Out at Elmaro Vineyard on Saturday, October 28. Parents who have a loved one with Down syndrome enjoyed an evening of casual conversation and wine!


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Green Bay

Playgroup
DSAW-Green Bay again hosted its monthly playgroup on the first Saturday of October. They were at CP this month. Join us on November 4 at Kidz Town!

Breakfast with Monsters/Fall Fest
We celebrated beautiful fall weather in October at Delzer's Pumpkin Farm! Families came out to enjoy breakfast with friendly monsters and fall activities like a corn maze, train ride, haunted hayride, face painting, and more.

Couple's Night Out
We also had a Couple's Night Out at Highland Howie's on October 22. A lovely group of parents came out and enjoyed free appetizers and an evening out!


North Central WI

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Parent's Night Out in Antigo
DSAW hosted its very first event in our North Central coverage area in October! Parents in Antigo joined us for a Night Out at Heart Breakers Bar & Grill on October 1st. They had a wonderful time connecting with other families in their area and are looking forward to having more DSAW events in northern WI!

 


Central WI (Wausau)

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Fall Festival
Families from DSAW-Central WI enjoyed a Fall Festival at Wilke's Dairy Farm in Wausau. Although it rained, they still had a great time doing activities, playing yard games, and exploring the pumpkin patch.


How Schools Can Be Inclusive To Individuals With Down Syndrome And Other Special Needs

When it comes to educating individuals with special needs, DSAW advocates inclusion as the first option. Special education services come in many different forms, however, schools are required to consider the general education class before any other setting. Here are some tips for schools, teachers, and parents to help with the inclusion process.

 

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School Environment

• It's important to keep a positive attitude throughout the school. Place values on diversity, be flexible, and practice positive problem-solving with students.

•Teachers should modify assignments when they are too difficult for children with special needs. They should also aim to model respect, as well as encourage friendships in the classroom. The different learning abilities and styles within the class should also be considered. Teachers should teach in a way that allows all children to understand and participate. 

 

Making Friends

•Encourage children to participate in activities where he/she can meet children his/her same age with different abilities. Make sure to support the development of friendships with classmates.

•Provide many opportunities for children with Down syndrome to socialize in a peer group with similar levels of intellectual disability. It is important for children with disabilities to have friends who are similar to them both in and outside of school.

•Similarly, it is good for friendships with non-disabled peers to carry on outside of school. This will help improve understanding and support.

 

Parents

•Keep in mind the power of role models. You want your child to feel that they are part of their community. It will help if they have strong influences who can set good examples and be someone they can look up to.

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•Set up meetings with teachers, therapists and others to discuss the goals, expectations, and future placement preferences you want to plan with your child.

 

Need Help?

•Schedule a Peer Sensitivity Training at your school! DSAW can help teach your child's classmates about what Down syndrome is, what it isn't, and how to be a good friend to someone with Down syndrome.

•Watch our IEP Webinar to learn more about advocating for more inclusion for your child.

•Do the teachers at your school want to learn more about teaching individuals with Down syndrome? They can schedule a teacher in-service to learn the latest techniques.  

•Need one-on-one support managing the relationship with your teacher or school district? Contact DSAW-Family Services to set up a Roadmap Session.

 

Resources:

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/learning-disabilities/inclusive-education/making-inclusion-a-reality/
https://www.down-syndrome.org/practice/370/
http://www.ndss.org/Resources/Education/Implementing-Inclusion/

 

Looking Back on September 2017

Milwaukee

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21st Annual Statewide Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
September was a big month for DSAW!! We hosted our 21st Annual Statewide Down Syndrome Awareness Walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo on Sunday, September 24! It was a beautiful, warm day at the zoo, and we had almost 2,500 people come out to support DSAW and to raise awareness of Down syndrome. Our amazing self-advocates walked the red carpet in our 21 Showcase, we had tons of raffle prizes, lunch, music, games, inflatables, and more! Thanks to your incredible generosity, we surpassed our fundraising goal! We are so humbled and are proud to work for an organization that changes lives every day. Thank you, thank you. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, sponsors, planning committee, families, self-advocates, walkers, and to everyone who made this spectacular day as amazing as it was!

Young Leaders Bootcamp
Throughout August, self-advocates in our Young Leaders Bootcamp rehearsed a musical! On September 6, they got to perform "The Princess and the Dance Crew" for family and friends at our state office. They did a fantastic job - see for yourself!

We also harvested tomatoes and basil from our garden to make homemade bruschetta! 

October is Art Month for Young Leaders Bootcamp! We'll be exercising our artistic abilities to make individual and group creations, and we'll work out the right side of our brains learning about art! Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Sign up here!

Cooking with the Kiddos
This month at Cooking with the Kiddos we made a yummy meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup. We also baked cookies for the people who came to see our self-advocates perform the play! Cooking with the Kiddos is a fun evening of family bonding, plus a free meal... what could be better?! Cook with us next month and sign up here!

Self-advocate Michelle Levenhagen accepts a sponsorship from Erie Insurance for our Statewide Awareness Walk!

Self-advocate Michelle Levenhagen accepts a sponsorship from Erie Insurance for our Statewide Awareness Walk!

Motor Skills Playgroup
We again hosted our bi-weekly Motor Skills Playgroup at our State office! This group is a fun chance for children to learn occupational therapy skills in a free environment, while parents enjoy coffee and each other's company. Join us in October to hang out with other families and let your child play!

Young Leaders Academy
Self-Advocates joined us for our bi-weekly Young Leaders Academy twice in September. Every class involves a respite activity such as kickball or yoga, and then ends with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. This month we went hiking near our office! Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime. Come out to Young Leaders in October! 

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Tween Club
Tween Club in September was super fun! We made key chains and Shrinky Dinks, and we played an exciting game of dodgeball. Parents dropped off their tweens at the State office for the night, and then they got to enjoy a casual night at our Parent's Night Out! Sign up for October's Tween Club.

Parent's Night Out
We hosted our monthly Parent's Night Out at Club Paragon again in September. Join us for next month's Parent's Night Out on October 13th!

Grandparents Group
Grandparents of a loved one with Down syndrome meet at our state office on the first Tuesday of each month! We had a great group in September. Consider joining us on October 3rd!


Green Bay

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Monthly Playgroup
For September's monthly playgroup, DSAW-Green Bay joined DSAW-Sheboygan at Henry Schuette Park in Manitowoc! Families came together to enjoy the early fall weather on a huge playground.

 

 

 

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Mom's Night Out
DSAW-Green Bay held our monthly Mom's Night Out at Mr. Brew's Taphouse! We enjoyed free appetizers and a night of casual conversation. Couples will be invited to October's Night Out on Sunday, October 22! Sign up here.


La Crosse

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Festival Foods Brat Barn Fundraiser
At the beginning of the month, we hosted a Brat Barn Fundraiser at Festival Foods for our Awareness Walk. Volunteers were able to earn money for their walk teams!! Self-advocate Rylee rocked it :)

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Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
September was our big month!! We hosted our Down Syndrome Awareness Walk at the Onalaska Omni Center on Saturday, September 16th. Despite a few drizzles in the morning, we had a beautiful day raising awareness and acceptance of our loved ones with Down syndrome! We had tons of raffle prizes, inflatables, lawn games, a delicious lunch from Big Boar, and 80s music all afternoon! We CRUSHED our fundraising goal and can continue to change lives through our programs and services. A huge THANK YOU to all of our sponsors, donors, volunteers, walk committee members, planners, families, self-advocates, Walk Royalty, and to everyone who made this day possible. We are so thankful!!

Check out news coverage of our walk here!


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Sheboygan

Playgroup
DSAW-Sheboygan & Surrounding Counties joined DSAW-Green Bay in Manitowoc for a playdate at Henry Schuette Park in early September! 

Family Zoo Day
We also had a Family Zoo Day at Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc on September 10th. Several families enjoyed gorgeous fall weather and exploring the zoo. 


Chippewa Valley

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St. Croix River Valley Parent's Night Out
Parents and caregivers of a loved one with Down syndrome enjoyed free appetizers and a casual night out at Pier 500 in Hudson for our first Parent's Night Out in the St. Croix River Valley area! If you're in Pepin, Pierce, Dunn, St. Croix, or Polk county, join our St. Croix River Valley Facebook page to stay connected and up to date on our upcoming events!

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Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
September was our big month!! We hosted our 11th Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk at Irvine Park on Sunday, September 24. We were Powerful in Pink as around 800 people walked to raise awareness and acceptance of our loved ones with Down syndrome! Thank you to all of our sponsors, donors, volunteers, committee members, planners, families, self-advocates, and to everyone who made our walk a success! We love you!


Central WI (Wausau)

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DSAW-Central WI hosted an informational meeting about IEPs in September. Garrett Lancelle and Jessica Raschka let parents in on all there is to know about IEPs, while the kids did activities. We also served lunch!


Fox Cities

DSAW-Fox Cities launched its Teen FrienDS Club program in September! On the second Friday of each month September-May, teens with Down syndrome ages 13-19 are invited to join us at our office in Appleton for movies, snacks, music, games, and more!! While the teens are at Teen FrienDS Club, parents are invited to join us for a Parent's Night Out for free appetizers and an evening of casual conversation.


Kenosha/Racine/Walworth

DSAW-KRW hosted a playdate at Petzke Park in Kenosha! We had a beautiful fall day, and the park is accessible for all children and is huge!! 


Meet a DSAW Leader: Jessica

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Hello everyone! My name is Jessica Raschka and I am the President of the DSAW-Central WI chapter. I got involved with our local chapter after deciding to start the process of adopting a baby with Down syndrome.

This is not where my journey of Down syndrome started. I have always been drawn to individuals with Down syndrome and that lead me to an education in special education. I worked as an ABA therapist in the MN school district. I had quite a few students on my caseload who had Down syndrome. I later went on to proving ABA privately in home for families. Along with ABA I started to advocate for families in IEP meetings.

In 2009 my husband and I opened a store for special needs kids and their families. We sold equipment for therapy, visual aids, adaptive equipment and toys. Sadly we had to close our doors.

We were blessed with four amazing kids who have special needs themselves. We have a rare chromosome duplication called Duplication 15q13.3. Our kids also deal with autism, epilepsy, OCD, sensory processing disorder and feeding issues. So when it came to adopting we were happy to look into special needs adoption. After much prayer we decided to pursue adopting a baby with Down syndrome. That's how on Aug. 6th we came to be parents to a special little boy that we named Corbin. We are now apart of the Lucky Few!!

 

Looking Back on August 2017

Milwaukee

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Family Pool Party
We had an awesome time at our Family Pool Party on August 12! More than 10 families joined us for an evening of swimming and splashing around at Hales Corners Pool.

21st Annual Tom Pipines Golf Outing
On August 16, we hosted our 21st Annual Tom Pipines Golf Outing at Western Lakes Golf Course in Pewaukee! We had a gorgeous, fun day out golfing and a wonderful dinner and program in the evening. We had incredible raffle baskets and auction items to raise money for our life-changing programs and services! A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated, volunteered, and donated. 

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Respite Day Camp 
We continued our Respite Day Camp at our State headquarters during the month of August! On two Wednesdays, middle school and high school students with Down syndrome joined us for a day-long respite camp. In August we practiced reading, talked about social skills and internet safety, took a field trip to Panda Express to work on exchanging money, had an awesome dance party, and more!

Young Leaders Bootcamp
Self-Advocates joined us for a fun month of Young Leaders Bootcamp! This month we continued rehearsing our play and are excited to perform it!

September's theme is Harvest/Healthy Cooking. We’ll be using items from the garden to cook tasty and fresh dishes. This month will grow independent living skills and continue to introduce the self-advocates more to gardening. Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Click here to sign up (ages 15+)!

Cooking with the Kiddos
This month at Cooking with the Kiddos we made delicious chicken teriyaki shish kabobs. Cooking with the Kiddos is a fun evening of family bonding, plus a free meal... what could be better? Come cook with us next month!

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Motor Skills Playgroup
We again hosted our bi-weekly Motor Skills Playgroup at our State office! This group is a fun chance for children to learn occupational therapy skills in a free environment, while parents enjoy coffee and each other's company. Join us in September to hang out with other families and let your child play!

Young Leaders Academy
Self-Advocates joined us for Young Leaders Academy twice in August. Every class involves a respite activity such as kickball or yoga, and then ends with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime. Come out to Young Leaders Academy in September!

Tween Club
We had our monthly Tween Club again this month. In order to prepare for the new school year, we made our own pencil cases! Parents dropped off their tweens at the State office for a night of crafts, games, and snacks, and then parents got to enjoy a casual night at our Parent's Night Out! Sign up for Tween Club in September. 

Parent's Night Out
We hosted our monthly Parent's Night Out at Club Paragon again in August. Join us for next month's Parent's Night Out on September 8!

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Family Movie Night
DSAW families came to our State headquarters at the end of August for a slumber party-themed movie night! We watched Beauty and the Beast and enjoyed some snacks!! 

Club DSAW
This month at Club DSAW we took a trip to Tee Aire mini golf course in Brookfield! Self-advocates joined us for an afternoon of mini golf, and two of them got a hole in one!! We treated ourselves to custard at Culver's after golfing. 


Green Bay

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Haircut Fundraiser
We hosted a Haircut Fundraiser for our Awareness Walk on August 6 at HYPE Hair in Green Bay!! We were even featured on WFRV Channel 5 :) Click here to see the news story about our awesome fundraiser.

 

 

 

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Awareness Walk 
DSAW-Green Bay held our 9th Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk on Sunday, August 27! It was a beautiful day (the rain held out just for our event!) with amazing raffles, games, music, a train, and more. Almost 600 people attended the event, and together we colored a beautiful world! THANK YOU to everyone who planned, participated, donated, and volunteered!! We could not have done it without you. Check out the press coverage of the walk!


La Crosse

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Holmen Kornfest Parade
Walk royalty Lila Dummer and Sam Malin rode through Holmen in style (pictured right) at the Kornfest Parade on August 19! DSAW families walked in the parade to raise awareness of DSAW and Down syndrome in the community.

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Beer by Bike Brigade
On August 19,  DSAW-COTH-GLA was spotlighted as the nonprofit group at the Beer By Bike Brigade (BBBB) Ride. A fun-loving group of self-advocates, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends and caregivers united to promote the amazing work DSAW is doing in the Greater La Crosse Area. Heather Coleman, Katie Sue Cavanaugh, and Eliza Levendoski melted the hearts of 300+ riders as they handed out buttons and welcomed riders at Riverside Park. But it was Aaron Hulse who stole the show! He fully participated in the ride, after biking from Onalaska to La Crosse. It was wonderful to see Aaron making new friends and showing off his bike to the BBBB group. He showed everyone it doesn't matter if you have a bike worth $10,000 or $2; it doesn't matter if your bike has 1 wheel, 2 wheels or 3 wheels; it doesn't matter if your bike is red, black, purple, multi-color or rust; and it certainly doesn't matter if you have an extra chromosome.  

BBBB riders are very similar to DSAW. They are an eclectic group of people- some are there to socialize, some to meet new people, some to bike, some to drink, some to support local business, some to support local non-profits, and some that just want to see what the hype is about- all coming together to have a good time and support the incredible community we live in! BBBB was so impressed with DSAW-COTH-GLA that they want to throw a pop-up fundraiser for us in November. Stay in the loop by liking Beer by Bike Bridge and Down Syndrome Association of WI-Lacrosse Chapter on Facebook.  
 
 Thank you to the Beer By Bike Brigade for spotlighting our organization.  A huge THANK YOU to our volunteers/members for joining the ride and being the best darn models for our new shirts.  Click this link to order your very own I <3 HOMIES WITH EXTRA CHROMIES shirt. 

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Parent's (& Family) Night Out
Parents (and kids too!) had a great night at Deerwood Park in Holmen. Our planned Parent's Night Out turned into a Family Pizza Party! Parents got together, and childcare was provided at the park so that parents could enjoy some time relaxing together!


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Kenosha/Racine/Walworth

DSAW-KRW hosted a successful Family Zoo Day at the Racine Zoo on August 19! Many people came out to enjoy a gorgeous day at the zoo, games, exciting raffles, crafts, and a lunch catered by Texas Roadhouse.


Chippewa Valley

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St. Croix River Valley Supported Families Meeting
At the beginning of August, DSAW state staff traveled up to the St. Croix River Valley coverage area to host an All-Supported Families Meeting for families interested in expanding DSAW's programs and services in the St. Croix River Valley. Attendees enjoyed fraternal support, ate pizza, and got to learn about DSAW! If you're in Pepin, Pierce, Dunn, St. Croix, or Polk county, join our St. Croix River Valley Facebook page to stay connected and up to date on our upcoming events!

Family Pool Party
DSAW-Chippewa Valley also hosted a free Family Pool Party at Wakanda Waterpark in Menomonie! DSAW families came out to splash around at the pool, and rainy weather forecast held out for us! 


Central WI (Wausau)

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DSAW-Central WI traveled to Amherst for a trip to Peterson Dairy Farm on August 12! Families enjoyed lunch, games, sensory tables, a hay ride, and petting and feeding the farm animals.


Fox Cities

Our Fox Cities chapter hosted a free summer pool party in August. Families joined us at Doyle Park Pool in Little Chute for an afternoon of fun in the sun! Click here to check out a video of the fun!