6 Tips for Parents and Siblings

By: Brett Braza, DSAW Marketing Intern

Raising a child with Down syndrome may present you with new and diverse challenges.  Specifically, it might require a huge adjustment for the siblings of your child with Down syndrome. This blog posts gives three pieces of advice for parents regarding their typically-developing children and three pieces of advice for siblings of individuals with Down syndrome. 

3 Tips for Parents

1)    Explain The Situation

Make sure to sit down with your child and explain the situation of how having a child with Down syndrome might require more attention. Define what Down syndrome is and how it affects your child as a big brother or sister. Acknowledge that just because they have Down syndrome does not mean their sibling should be treated any less or are not capable to do anything their heart desires

2)    Spend Time With All of Your Children!

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Since all children are unique and have varying levels of individual needs, it is difficult to balance the time evenly between them. Instead, we recommend you make it a point to spend time with each of your children on a daily basis. Children with Down syndrome may require more attention, but devoting special time to their siblings will help the others feel valued.

It is important to pay attention and track the mood changes of your children. A new addition to the family can cause huge influxes in emotion. Acknowledge their feelings and ask how they are personally feeling about this new adjustment. If signs of depression or a heightened level of anxiety emerge, make sure to provide your child with help or resources available as soon as possible.

3)    Do Not Give Your Other Children Too Many Responsibilities

Although sometimes it may be nice to have an extra hand to help you out in caring for your child with Down syndrome, it is recommended you do not push for older siblings to carry too many responsibilities. Giving your child special tasks involving the new sibling, however, may lead to quick acceptance.

 

3 Tips for Siblings of Individuals With Down Syndrome

1)    Be Patient

At first, it might be a huge change to add a new brother or sister to your family. An individual with Down syndrome may require more attention right away and that’s okay. There might be a shift in attention towards the new baby, but that does not mean your parents or anyone else loves you any less. Additionally, your sibling might have a harder time learning how to read or walk, but that does not make them any less. As an older sibling, be patient, because this new sibling will look up to you for all you do.

2)    Be Understanding

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Down syndrome does not define a person. In fact, a sibling with Down syndrome is more alike than different.  They have hobbies and interests, just like you! They like to laugh and play. Although they might have Down syndrome, you should know they are capable of so much, and they will exceed expectations in incredible ways. Make sure to cheer them on along the way!

3)    Let Them Love You And Love Them Back

Having a sibling with Down syndrome is not a bad thing or something to be embarrassed about—you should know that by gaining a sibling with Down syndrome, you are gaining a friend who will provide unconditional love and happiness. They care so much about you and want to know everything about you—they just want to be your friend!

A new sibling in the family can be challenging for any young kid. Hopefully these tips can provide guidelines or at least provoke ideas about how to handle a similar scenario!


Information gathered from the following resources:

https://www.ndss.org/resources/caring-for-your-family/.

https://themighty.com/2014/11/things-you-understand-when-your-sibling-has-down-syndrome/

 

Grandparents Support Group

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You've heard about our Parent's First Call program for new and expectant parents, our programs for individuals with Down syndrome who are aging, and our resources for transition-aged individuals learning to advocate for themselves. Did you know that DSAW also has resources for grandparents?

Grandparents are important members of the family, and they too seek support when a grandchild is diagnosed with Down syndrome. After learning that their grandson James has Down syndrome, Jim and Robbie became very involved with DSAW.

Both Jim and Robbie have volunteered with DSAW for several years. Jim serves on the State Board and acts as the Medical Outreach Committee Chair. They also help at events and lead DSAW's Grandparents Support Group out of our state headquarters.

The group "provides opportunities for our grandparents to ask questions, learn from each other, and just have others to talk with and share emotions." The Grandparents Group often hosts guest speakers and self advocates who demonstrate what life might look like for the members' grandchildren. Jim notices that much like the parents, "Many of our new grandparents come in scared, uncertain, and worried about the future, but they are soon able to reverse roles and provide encouragement and support to the next round of new members."

Everyone's favorite part of each meeting is the beginning; they start by sharing pictures of their grandchildren. What grandparent doesn't enjoy showing off pictures of their little ones? Our Grandparents Group started with 4-5 members a short time ago, and now it has grown to a membership of 16!

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Jim and Robbie truly feel that "the DSAW Grandparent Support Group is a valuable resource for all new and prospective grandparents of children with Down syndrome. Grandparents are a vital part of a family's support system, and this group helps to strengthen the bond between generations!"

If you're in the Milwaukee area, join us for Grandparents Group on the first Tuesday of the month at 4pm! Our next meeting is February 5 as we will break to celebrate the New Year. If you are in another area of the state and would like to start a Grandparents Group, contact Rachel to learn how easy it is to get one going!

When you 
support DSAW, you are allowing grandparents the opportunity to connect, learn, and find reassurance. You are providing a network for family members who may have difficulty finding one elsewhere.
Please consider DSAW in your year-end giving.
 By donating today, you can give others the community that Jim and Robbie have helped to create at DSAW's Grandparents Group.

Warmly,
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin

PS - Will you make a year-end gift to support our vital work? We couldn't do it without you! 

Meet a DSAW Leader: Marita

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My name is Marita Stannis and I am the President of the Greater Milwaukee Chapter’s Advisory Board.  I have been in this role since the chapter was created in 2013, and prior to that I was the Secretary on the State Board for about 3 years.

I am the Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at Caterpillar.  I love my job because I work with employees to ensure their safety on the job.  My husband Kevin and I have been married for 12 years.  He works for a software company and travels internationally quite often.  We have 2 children- Madelyn (Maddy) who is almost 10 and Oliver who is 3.

I received Maddy’s Down syndrome diagnosis prenatally, and it wasn’t a good experience for us.  We were told all the bad things that can come with Down syndrome but none of the good.  After she was born we joined DSAW and what a life changer that was!  The resources and knowledge that they have has been amazing! I wanted to be involved in helping ensure other families didn’t have the same experience we did, so I joined the Board.

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I am so blessed to have DSAW in my life. I have made some of my best friends here.  Sharing our triumphs with each other and guiding one another through challenges makes our bond so strong! 

When there’s spare time you will find me in the kitchen cooking!  I have loved to cook most of my life and have great mentors, something I am hoping to pass down to my kids!  I also enjoy spending time with family and friends and reading. 

Support Parents Beth and Kevin

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Happy Giving Tuesday! Today is the day we give back to our communities. To show you the impact that your generosity has on families, we'd like to introduce you to Beth and Kevin. 

"When we received our diagnosis, we were so scared, so worried, and we didn't know where to initially go for answers. Heck, we didn't even know what questions to ask. It didn't help that both the preliminary and confirmed diagnosis of Down syndrome were delivered in an entirely negative way."

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Because of their experience, Beth and Kevin decided to become Support Parents through our Parent's First Call program and partnership with Parent to Parent of Wisconsin. Knowing what it's like to feel scared and alone, they wanted to be there for families who didn't know where to go. They wanted to provide other parents "that freedom to cry, to laugh, to vent, to be scared, but without any judgement." After a one day training, Beth and Kevin were ready to be matched with parents looking for resources and support. They are thankful they "get to pay it forward" and "feel it is an absolute honor to be able to be Support Parents."

The Parent's First Call Support Parent program not only benefits new parents, but it has a huge impact on the Support Parents too. At the training, Beth and Kevin learned that "grief will come in waves, at different points in both our and the child's life. We need to give ourselves permission for these feelings. Going through this training and learning this, it was only then that I was able to finally forgive myself for feeling so angry, so sad.. and to give myself permission when those feelings come up at different points now."

After their training, Beth and Kevin were matched with Stacey and Chad. They first "met" over the phone, but when they met for the first time in person at a DSAW Parent's Night Out, Beth and Kevin "really felt like we were seeing people we'd known our entire lives." Beth remembers seeing them come in and running to give Stacey a hug. They became fast friends, and now Beth and Kevin "can't imagine our lives without Chad, Stacey, Timothy and Anthony in it!" They share stories of their experiences and their struggles, and both couples know that they can count on each other for support.

When you support DSAW, you are supporting lifelong friendships created through our Parent's First Call program. You are giving scared and uncertain parents the opportunity to connect with people who have walked in their shoes. 

Today is Giving Tuesday. By donating today, you can give others the gift of comfort and community that Beth, Kevin, Stacey, and Chad found in DSAW.


Warmly,

Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin

PS - DSAW relies on your generosity to provide support, programs, and services for our friends with Down syndrome and their families! Make a difference today by donating to DSAW.

Looking Back on November 2018

Milwaukee

Transition Conference
We had a great turnout for our Transition Conference in partnership with the Down Syndrome Clinic at Children’s Hospital, Family Voices of Wisconsin, and the Southeast Regional Center for CYSHCN. We heard sessions about moving from child to adult health care, what comes after high school, and what it’s like to transition to adult life. Thank you to our partners for a great fall conference!

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Learning and Skills Night with the Medical College of Wisconsin
On November 8 our Young Leaders Academy students took a trip to MCW to talk to and learn from the medical students. The med students taught us about different kinds of doctors and how to do a medical examination. We got to tell them about what we like and don’t like about going to the doctor’s office, and then we got to practice examining them! Thanks to the MCW Friends of Special Needs for their incredible partnership. We had so much fun and are looking forward to working more with them again in the future!

Relationships Class
We offer a course on relationships for individuals with special needs. They talk about personal boundaries, dating, self-defense, stranger danger, and safety. There are classes on Monday nights and Saturday mornings, and it runs until December 19!

Nutrition & Wellness Class
DSAW and DSAW-Family Services also offered two sessions of a Nutrition and Wellness Class this month. The class meets twice a week and learns about personal health and well-being, exercise, and healthy cooking.

Young Leaders Bootcamp
This month at Bootcamp we focused on creating friendships. We discussed questions like “What are good friendships and why are they important?” and “How are good friendships built?” We really learned a lot!

Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Join us in December to learn about different holidays around the world.

Cooking with the Kiddos
Cooking with the Kiddos happens every first and third Wednesday at our State office! Don’t worry about dinner plans — we’ll take care of it! This month at cooking, we made mini pizzas. At the second session we made gluten free mac n cheese and biscuits! They were delicious!

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Motor Skills Playgroup                                   
Our Motor Skills Playgroup meets every second and fourth Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30! 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. We also offer free music therapy in conjunction with playgroup! Sign up to join us!

Young Leaders Academy
Our Young Leaders Academy at our West Allis office meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month. We also have a Young Leaders Class at our Northside location in Fox Point! This location meets the first and second Fridays of the month from 7 - 9 PM! Classes start off with an energetic game and end with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime.

Tween Club
The second Friday night of the month, DSAW transforms into a hoppin' place for tweens to hang out! This month we prepared for Thanksgiving with apple pie, turkey crafts, and games! Next month's Tween Club will be on Friday, December 14. Drop your 10+ year old off for a night of games, snacks, activities, and more. Sign up!

Parent's Night Out
Each month, DSAW parents, grandparents, and caregivers get together for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers. We meet every second Friday of the month at Cleveland Pub, in conjunction with Tween Club! Come join us for one of our favorite nights of the month on Friday, December 14!


Central Wisconsin

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Parent’s First Call Support Parent Training
We had a wonderful group of parents join us in Weston on November 3 for a PFC Support Parent Training. These parents came together to learn how to meet the need for peer support! As a part of Wisconsin’s Network of Support Parents, they now can be connected to another parent of a child with Down syndrome looking for support. Thank you to the parents and to Parent to Parent of Wisconsin for making this training happen!

Children’s Museum Outing
We went to Stevens Point this month to visit the Central WI Children’s Museum! We explored the museum together and had lunch!

Mom’s Coffee Date
DSAW women got together for a Mom’s Coffee Date at Vino Latte in Wausau on the second Wednesday of the month. We love this time to talk to other moms and grandmas while enjoying coffee and treats! Join us at the Vino Latte in Weston on December 12!


La Crosse

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Family Night Out
At the beginning of the month we went to The Children’s Museum of La Crosse with our friends from the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation. The museum hosted an Inclusion Night for people with disabilities, and we had a great night exploring the museum without the extra stimulation of its busy hours!

Self Advocate Bowling Event
DSAW self advocates went bowling at Pla-Mor Lanes in La Crosse on November 10. Everyone did an awesome job out on the lanes, and we had a great afternoon!

Parent’s Night Out
Our Parent’s Night Out this month was at Pacifico Mexican Restaurant in Viroqua! Parents, grandparents, caregivers, and adult siblings had a casual evening of conversation and free appetizers!


Green Bay

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Dad’s Night Out
In November, DSAW-GB dads had a night to themselves! We went to Buffalo Wild Wings and shared some free appetizers while watching sports!

Cookie Decorating Event
Families got together at the Howe Resource Center on November 24 for cookie decorating, ornament making, and designing aprons! We loved decorating (and eating!) all of our cookies and getting ready for the holiday season!

Mom’s Night Out
DSAW moms, grandmas, and female caregivers took a break from the holiday madness to get together for a night out! We went to Caliente in De Pere and had a great evening! Please note that there will be no Mom’s Night Out in December due to the holidays.


MADSS

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Playgroup at Sky Zone
We had a busy month in November! We started off with a playgroup at Sky Zone. Everyone had so much fun jumping around on the trampolines and launching into the foam pit!

Arts and Crafts Workshop
We made Fall-themed arts and crafts this month at UW-Madison! Families enjoyed light refreshments and got to express their creativity with painting crafts!

Rock County Family Holiday Movie
Rock County families came together in Janesville to see the latest release of The Grinch! We loved celebrating the holidays with each other and this silly movie! Thank you to all of our families who joined us :)

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Parent’s Night Out
At the end of the month, parents, grandparents, caregivers, and adult siblings met up at Bonefish Grill for a casual evening of conversation and free appetizers!

Mom’s Take 5
MADSS also has a Mom’s Night Out on the 5th of every month! November was no different! We always love getting together with these incredible women.


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Mom’s Night Out
Moms, grandmas, and female caregivers got together at the beginning of November for an evening of respite at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen in Appleton! We had a fun night of conversation and good eats!

Down Syndrome & Alzheimer's

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Would you take a few minutes to read about Dan and DSAW's new programming for people with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's? National organizations have referred to our Down syndrome and Alzheimer's initiative as "pioneering" and as a "model for other Down syndrome groups around the country," and we need your help to sustain it!

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By the time they are 60, almost 80% of people with Down syndrome will develop dementia. As Dan, now age 56, grew older, he started to develop signs of Alzheimer's disease. His parents face new challenges every day as his primary caregivers, and Dan's diagnosis has added a whole new dimension to their lives. 

Dan's family attended DSAW's first Memory Cafe in Milwaukee this summer. His mom Eileen was thrilled to see that DSAW was offering programs for the aging population. Many organizations don't focus on this demographic, and Eileen "appreciates any help we can get. DSAW's attempt to form Memory Cafes provided for us a very welcome resource."

Eileen and her family feel passionately about sharing their experiences with others who can learn from Dan's dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's. She encourages others to be open and honest about their loved ones with Down syndrome who are showing signs of Alzheimer's. Eileen, Dan, and their family hope to meet you at an upcoming Memory Cafe! 

Until then, we have compiled a wealth of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's resources for you now. Visit our resources pagewatch our recent webinarssign up for our Down syndrome & Alzheimer's newsletter, and join our Facebook support group to get more information and connect with others. If you're in the Milwaukee area, join us for a Memory Cafe on Thursday, December 6Thank you to Bader Philanthropies for helping us launch this initiative. We intend to roll out these programs across the state in 2019 and beyond, so stay tuned for events in your area!

When you support DSAW, you are supporting needed services for older adults. You are advancing model Down syndrome and Alzheimer's programs and bringing fraternal support to people who can't find it elsewhere. 

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. Will you give to DSAW?


Warmly,
Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin

PS - Getting good deals on Cyber Monday? Donate those savings to DSAW tomorrow to celebrate Giving Tuesday!

Medical College of Wisconsin Partnership

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate all of the people and things that we appreciate. What are you thankful for this week? Does DSAW play a role in any of those things?

Kristen, a student at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and Co-President of the group Friends for Special Needs, is thankful for her partnership with DSAW: "DSAW has created an environment where medical students can have extremely positive experiences with those with disabilities. I personally am so thankful that I can help facilitate this knowledge and experience with my peers to help them become better physicians in the future."

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MCW students have been volunteering with DSAW for more than three years, supporting young adults with Down syndrome and other special needs at DSAW's recurring programs and special events. The experience has been life-changing for both groups! MCW students have made lasting friendships with many of our self advocates, shaping the future for the next generation of medical leaders.

MCW is the 4th largest private medical school in the nation, and its students deploy to practice medicine across the globe. DSAW works with MCW not only to provide volunteer opportunities for its students, but to educate them about what Down syndrome is, what it isn't, and how they can better serve their patients with special needs. DSAW and its partners have also done trainings on how to deliver a compassionate diagnosis. Think about the impact this experience will have when these students become medical professionals!

Our partnership with MCW will affect the future of health care for people with special needs. Kristin has realized that "those with disabilities have so much to offer to this world. If they aren't feeling 100%, they will receive my full attention to their needs. I have been able to recognize better that they know their body and their mind better than their caregivers, and we, as professionals, need to make sure we give credit to what they can offer to their history and presenting symptoms."

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On November 8th, self advocates in Young Leaders Academy took a trip to MCW for a Learning and Skills night. The self advocates told the medical students what they like to see in health care professionals, and the med students taught the self advocates how to conduct a medical exam. Kristin's goal of this session "was to help the self advocates have more power over their healthcare and be more informed on what is happening with their health!"

When you support DSAW, you are supporting the future of health care for people with Down syndrome. You are supporting objective diagnoses for new and expectant parents around the world. We need you to help us educate others about Down syndrome. Will you consider making a gift to DSAW next Tuesday?


Warmly,

Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin

PS - As you save big 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 2018

Milwaukee

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Halloween Party
This month we got to celebrate Halloween!! We had a spook-tacular Halloween Dance at our state office, complete with a pasta bar, costume contests, games, crafts, sno cones, and of course, awesome dance moves! It was so much fun to see all of our friends dressed up in costume. We saw Jafar, Elvis, Snow White, some cats, and more :)

Sibling Event with Gnat & Corky
We continued our sibling program this month with an event for kids ages 5-9 who have a sibling with Down syndrome! Gnat and Corky, author and illustrator of Addison the Light Catcher (a book about a sibling!), came to read their book, lead a discussion, and host a related craft. We all had such a great time meeting each other and learning new things. Stay tuned for our next sibling event!

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Relationships Class
We offer a course on relationships for individuals with special needs. They talk about personal boundaries, dating, self-defense, stranger danger, and safety. There are classes on Monday nights and Saturday mornings, and it runs until December 19!

Nutrition & Wellness Class
DSAW and DSAW-Family Services also offered two sessions of a Nutrition and Wellness Class this month. The class meets twice a week and learns about personal health and well-being, exercise, and healthy cooking.

Young Leaders Bootcamp
This month at Bootcamp we talked about worry and anxiety. We learned strategies to cope with them, and we made some awesome worry dolls! At the end of the month, we got in the spirit of Halloween with related crafts and activities.

Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Join us in November to focus on creating friendships!

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Family Movie Night
Every month on the fourth Friday, we bring our blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and teddy bears and get comfy for a Movie Night at our West Allis office! This month we celebrated Halloween and Dia de Muertos by watching Coco! Join us next month!

Cooking with the Kiddos
Cooking with the Kiddos happens every first and third Wednesday at our State office! Don’t worry about dinner plans — we’ll take care of it! This month at cooking, we made mini chicken pot pie muffins. They were delicious!

Motor Skills Playgroup                                   
Our Motor Skills Playgroup meets every second and fourth Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30! 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. In October we started up our free music therapy program in conjunction with playgroup! Sign up to join us!

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Young Leaders Academy
Our Young Leaders Academy at our West Allis office meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month. We also have a Young Leaders Class at our Northside location in Fox Point! This location meets the first and second Fridays of the month from 7 - 9 PM! Classes start off with an energetic game and end with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime. On November 8, students in the Thursday program will be going to the Medical College of Wisconsin to learn about advocating for themselves and the doctor’s office. To prepare for this field trip, medical students came to Young Leaders in October and helped teach us about what to expect.

Tween Club
The second Friday night of the month, DSAW transforms into a hoppin' place for tweens to hang out! This month we had a Halloween-themed party just for tweens! Next month's Tween Club will be on Friday, November 9. We’ll be preparing for Thanksgiving by making apple pie, doing holiday themed crafts, playing games, and more! Drop your 10+ year old off for a night of games, snacks, activities, and more. Sign up!

Parent's Night Out
Each month, DSAW parents, grandparents, and caregivers get together for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers. We meet every second Friday of the month at Cleveland Pub, in conjunction with Tween Club! Come join us for one of our favorite nights of the month on Friday, November 9!


Fox Cities

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9th Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
DSAW-Fox Cities hosted their annual Awareness Walk on Saturday, October 6 in Neenah! It was an awesome day with raffles, trampoline bungee jumping, food, a miniature train, and raising awareness of our friends with Down syndrome!! Fox Cities CRUSHED their fundraising goal! Thank you to everyone who supported this Walk with their time, talent, and treasure. We appreciate you! Check out the news coverage here.

Teen FrienDS Club
DSAW-Fox Cities also continued their monthly Teen FrienDS club for teens with Down syndrome. Every month during the school year they get together for movies, snacks, music, games, and more!


Sheboygan

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9th Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
Our Sheboygan chapter closed out Awareness Walk season with their Walk on October 13 at Kiwanis Park. We had a brisk sunny day to welcome DSAW friends for inflatables, crafts, music, a Texas Roadhouse lunch, community resources, and raffles. We had a lovely 21 Showcase and introduced all of our friends with Down syndrome! It was so much fun to see the community come together and raise awareness of our friends. Thank you to all volunteers, donors, sponsors, families, friends, and to our incredible Walk committee! That’s a wrap!


Green Bay

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Monthly Playgroup
In October we met at the new Titletown District Playground at Lambeau Field!! It was awesome! We had a fun time on the playground and playing out on the field. Although playgroup usually meets the first Saturday of every month, we are going to suspend it during the winter months so people can stay warm and cozy :)

Self Advocate Corn Maze Event
DSAW self advocates ages 15+ got together at Polly’s Pumpkin Patch to do some corn mazes!! We had an awesome time on a hayride and exploring the corn maze.

Parent’s Night Out
This month we invited ALL parents, grandparents, caregivers, and adult siblings to join us for a well-deserved night out! We met up at Joe Rouer’s in Luxemburg for a night of casual conversation and appetizers. Come join us for Mom’s Night Out or Dad’s Night Out next month!


Central WI

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Family Fall Festival
After our Walk at the end of September, we took a little bit of a rest! We did host a Family Fall Festival on October 14 at Wilke’s! We took wagon rides, picked pumpkins, had lunch, and enjoyed a day together at the dairy farm!

Mom’s Coffee Date
We also got together for a Mom’s Coffee date at Vino Latte in October on the second Wednesday! Come join us in November!


MADSS

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Fall Family Event
DSAW helped our friends at MADSS host a Family Farm Event on Saturday, October 27! We went to Schuster’s Farm in Deerfield and took a hayride, got pumpkins, did corn mazes, and had some delicious sweet treats!

Dad’s Night Out
MADSS dads got together at Graze in mid-October for a night out together. We welcomed a good group of guys and had a lot of fun!

Mom’s Take 5
MADSS also has a Mom’s Night Out on the 5th of every month! October was no different! We always love getting together with these incredible women.


La Crosse

Parent’s Night Out                   
In October, DSAW adults met up at Elmaro Vineyard for a great evening of wine, apps, and conversation. The location was beautiful, and we had a great time!


Chippewa Valley

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Fall Family Event
We got to celebrate Fall at the end of October with a trip to Schultz’s Country Barn in Eleva! We had a hot dog dinner, took train rides, made s’mores, and painted pumpkins! It was fun to see all of our new DSAW friends from the Awareness Walk last month :)


Meet a DSAW Leader: Amy

My name is Amy Thomas. I am the newest edition to the DSAW state office and I am incredibly excited for this opportunity. I have the pleasure of teaching multiple classes every month for a wide variety of age groups and topics, which allow me to share my creative, authentic self.

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I started my career on accident while attending the University of Iowa, where I studied Socio-Cultural Anthropology. I was volunteering at a coffee shop on campus that was run by individuals with disabilities. It was my job to offer support as needed. From there I went on to work for the Goodwill of the Heartland as a job coach and came to the realization I had found my place in the world. I am a bit of a dreamer and believe you should always enjoy what you do for a living, while giving back if you can.  I have been working with individuals with disabilities for over 18 years now- which is absolutely mind blowing. I cant believe how quickly time has flown by. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my experiences over the course of the last 18 years, I have to say one of my proudest thus far was the creation of Team Awesome. Team Awesome is a technical theater program for students with disabilities at Shorewood High School. The members work alongside the rest of the high school crew, at their own pace, to build sets for the high school productions, as well as running all technical aspects of the show. It is the first of its kind in the nation and although I have since left the program, it is still running strong.

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I am the proud mother of three amazing children and one beautiful grandbaby. My oldest child, Hannah, has followed in my footsteps and works 30 hours a week in the same field. She spent her high school years volunteering for Best Buddies and Special Olympics.  My middle child, Sullivan, was born with an extremely rare craniofacial abnormality and has undergone over 16 major surgeries. He has just secured his first job experience with the assistance of DSAW-Family Services. My youngest, Jonas, is currently in the 7th grade and exploring new hobbies. He seems to be following in his father's artistic footsteps and enjoys drawing and designing. He has an amazing sense of humor and keeps us all laughing. My husband and I have been married for over 20 years and met back in college. He was in a theater production of Shakespeare that I was required to see for a class. I knew right away he was the one and inevitably it was our theater instructor who introduced us.

When I am not working, I spend a good deal of my free time advocating for human rights that include awareness of socio-economic inequities and social change, as well as environmental awareness. When I have down time I always spend it with my family. They are my world. We enjoy traveling, exploring new environments, arts programs, playing board games, eating out and always laughing and loving.

Taking Children with Special Needs to the Dentist

 
   This blog post is sponsored by Dr. Tikalsky from the Dentists on Bluemound

This blog post is sponsored by Dr. Tikalsky from the Dentists on Bluemound

 

Whether it is your first time or tenth visit, going to the dentist can be scary for people of all ages and abilities. It is common, specifically, for individuals with disabilities to be apprehensive about going to the dentist. Recently, Dr. Tim Tikalsky, dentist at the Dentists on Bluemound, shared advice to help make the trip to the dentist a more favorable one. Not only is Dr. Tikalsky a fantastic dentist, but he is dad to four kids, one of whom has Down syndrome. You may know them as team “I Love Lucy” from the Zoo Walk!

Here are some of his tips for surviving and thriving in the dentist office:

Finding the Right Dental Office

  • Dr. Tikalsky recommends visiting and taking a tour of the dentist office before an appointment. Meet the dentist and the staff to see if this is the right dentist for your child! The individual with Down syndrome should also come along for the journey so they can familiarize themselves with the sights, sounds, and smells of the place. 

  • It should be noted that a trip to the dentist office should not just be about making your child’s teeth clean and perfect, but also about the overall experience.      

Dental Education

  • Don’t be afraid to let the dental office know about your child’s specific sensory preferences. Some dental offices have sensory questionnaires, which asks a series of questions about your child’s taste, positioning, visual, noise, reward preferences, and more. This will allow for the dental providers to be prepared to provide a comfortable experience for your child.

  • Take advantage of children’s books and videos revolving around the first trip to the dentist. These tools help teach children about the dentist, including the procedures and equipment involved.
     

Practice, Practice, Practice!

  • Many children are intimidated with lying back at the dental office for a cleaning or examination. Because of this, it may be an effective strategy for your child to practice lying down at home to become more comfortable with this type of position. Additionally, practicing dental care while they are in this position, such as brushing their teeth or flossing, can help make the first visit less scary.

  • Role-playing is also a great way to prepare your child for their trip, and will help make the experience fun. Pretend to be the dentist, and walk through what will happen with your child. 


A special thank you Dr. Kevin Race of Race Orthodontics and Dr. Angela Trochell of Fun Kids Dentist for their insight and expertise on this topic!

Looking Back on September 2018

Milwaukee

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22nd Annual Statewide Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
We held our Statewide Awareness Walk on Sunday, September 23 at the Milwaukee County Zoo! We had perfect weather for our Mardi Gras themed party, and we had MORE participants, MORE teams, and raised MORE money than EVER before! Almost 3,000 of our closest friends joined us for a day of inflatables, carnival games, raffles, music, crafts, sno cones, rock climbing, food, and a walk around the Zoo. THANK YOU to everyone who made this year’s Walk so incredible - especially our sponsors, donors, volunteers, families, friends with Down syndrome, and YOU!

Puberty Workshops
In partnership with the Down Syndrome Clinic and Terri Couwenhoven, we sponsored puberty workshops for teenagers with disabilities! In separate sessions, boys and girls learned about sexuality and changes that happen during puberty.

Relationships Class
We’re offering a relationships class during our fall semester for individuals with disabilities. We meet on Saturdays and discuss relationships, personal boundaries, dating, and self-defense.

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Nutrition & Wellness Class
DSAW and DSAW-Family Services also offer two sessions of a Nutrition and Wellness Class. The class meets twice a week and learns about personal health and well-being, exercise, and healthy cooking.

Young Leaders Bootcamp
This month at Bootcamp we all came with our favorite recipes. We got to cook and taste them and plan for the cookbook that we’re creating with everyone’s favorites!

Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Join us in October!

Family Movie Night
Every month on the fourth Friday, we bring our blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and teddy bears and get comfy for a Movie Night at our West Allis office! This month was no different! Join us next month!!

Cooking with the Kiddos
Cooking with the Kiddos happens every first and third Wednesday at our State office! Don’t miss this chance to skip the cooking at your house! We’ll provide food for your family and practice cooking skills.

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Motor Skills Playgroup                                     
Our Motor Skills Playgroup meets every second and fourth Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30! 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. We’ll be starting up music therapy again in October! Sign up to join us!

Young Leaders Academy
Our Young Leaders Academy at our West Allis office meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month. We are also have a Young Leaders Class at our Northside location in Fox Point! This location meets the first and second Fridays of the month from 7 - 9 PM! Classes start off with an energetic game and end with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime. Come out to Young Leaders Academy in September in West Allis or in Fox Point!

Tween Club
The second Friday night of the month, DSAW transforms into a hoppin' place for tweens to hang out! This month at tween club we had fun with a back to school theme! We had a school-themed photobooth and made crafts. Next month's Tween Club will be on Friday, October 12. Drop your 10+ year old off for a night of games, snacks, activities, and more. Sign up to join us!

Parent's Night Out
Each month, DSAW parents, grandparents, and caregivers get together for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers. This month we were back at Cleveland Pub, where we’ll be for the rest of 2018! We meet every second Friday of the month in conjunction with Tween Club! Join us on October 12!


La Crosse

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16th Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
DSAW-COTH-GLA hosted its Annual Awareness Walk as well this month! We had a giant luau-themed party and a gorgeous, warm September day. Everyone came out in their leis and grass skirts to celebrate our friends with Down syndrome! We had inflatables, raffles, a photobooth, yard games, lunch, and more! Thank you to all of our volunteers, donors, families, and friends! A special thank you to our Awareness Walk planning committee for all the work they did to prepare for this day!

Nature for All Families
We continued our partnership with WisCorps again this month on September 30! DSAW families got together to learn about nature, enjoy a snack, and get together with other people with disabilities!


MADSS

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Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
DSAW partnered with the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society this year to help them throw their annual Awareness Walk! We had all new activities like a petting zoo, rock climbing wall, carnival games, inflatables, and much more! We had a hot sunny day on September 16 as we welcomed 700 people to Olin Park in Madison!


Central Wisconsin

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FIRST Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk!
This month, we hosted the first EVER Down Syndrome Awareness Walk in Wausau! We had a fantastic turnout for the event (400 people!), and had fun at Doepke Park with disability resource vendors, inflatables, music, raffles, top fundraising prizes, and lunch. Thank you to everyone who helped us pull off our first walk! We’re already looking forward to next year!


Chippewa Valley   

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Down Syndrome Awareness Walk                         
DSAW-Chippewa Valley also hosted their Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls! We had a great turnout for a fun day of crafts, inflatables, family photos, a delicious lunch of pulled pork and burgers, and more. Thank you!!


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Green Bay

Family Orchard Event
Families from DSAW-Green Bay traveled to Sturgeon Bay to visit Seaquist Orchards! They got to learn all about pie-making in a kitchen tour and make their own caramel apples! Everyone even got a slice of pie to bring home!

Playgroup
We also hosted our monthly playgroup on the first Saturday of the month! This month we went to Voyageur Park in De Pere.

Mom’s Night Out
Every month DSAW women get together for a well-deserved night out! This month we met at Heartland Pizza Company and had drinks and free appetizers!


Sheboygan

Children’s Museum Night
Families came together for our monthly playgroup at the Above & Beyond Children’s Museum! On the second Monday of the month, lights are turned down, noise is turned off, and exhibits are adapted for our friends with disabilities!

Family Farm Outing
DSAW-Sheboygan families also took a trip to Juneau to visit Waldvogel’s Farm, the largest pumpkin farm in Wisconsin! We had fun on the pumpkin trampoline, taking hay rides, doing a corn maze, and more! Happy Fall!!


Looking Back on August 2018

Milwaukee

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22nd Annual Tom Pipines Golf Outing             On Wednesday, August 15th, DSAW friends and families gathered at Western Lakes golf course for a day of golf, great food, and fundraising! We also presented our special guest Tom Pipines with a Lifetime Achievement Award for all he has accomplished in his career and in the disability community! We want to extend a HUGE thank you to all of our donors, sponsors, and volunteers who made this event possible!!

Milwaukee Pool Party
Families joined us at the Hales Corners pool for a day of fun in the sun! We had a great time splashing around, eating food and enjoying each other's company!

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Racine Zoo Day
We also hosted a family event at the beautiful Racine Zoo! DSAW families had a taco lunch, won raffle prizes, did sack races and summer crafts, and got to explore the zoo! 

Circles Class
Our second Circles session began July 25th and went through the month of August! We have been learning about personal boundaries, relationships, safety, and appropriate social behaviors!

Down Syndrome & Alzheimer's Memory Cafe
We were so excited to host our FIRST ever memory cafe in Milwaukee. Thanks to a grant from Bader Philanthropies, we have been studying up on Down syndrome and Alzheimer's for several months. At the beginning of August, we got to teach other families what we know and see them come together in a casual environment. Stay tuned for more Ds and Alzheimer's programming!

Young Leaders Bootcamp
We spent this month at Bootcamp learning about different life skills! We did a clothing night when we made t-shirts and learned to sew buttons onto clothes. We also practiced with money and healthy eating!

Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Join us in September!

DSAW Fun Days
On the 9th, we had another Fun Day! Fun Days are mini, one day respite opportunities for kiddos ages 10-16. This was our very last Fun Day for the summer! We went to the State Fair, danced and sang along to an Elvis impersonator, and ate some GREAT fair food!

Family Movie Night
Every month, we bring our blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and teddy bears and get comfy for a Movie Night at our West Allis office! This month we watched Cars 3! Join us next month!!

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Club DSAW
At Club DSAW, self-advocates ages 15+ get a chance to do fun things in the community with each other! This month we went to Comedy Sportz for the Saturday matinee!! We had so much fun watching the match and meeting the players.

Motor Skills Playgroup                                     
Our Motor Skills Playgroup meets every second and fourth Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30! 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. This month we finished our music therapy program and had great time dancing and singing out hearts out! Music therapy ended this month, but awesome things are still happening at Playgroup! Sign up to join us!

Young Leaders Academy
Our Young Leaders Academy at our West Allis office meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month. We are also have a Young Leaders Class at our Northside location in Fox Point! This location meets the first and second Fridays of the month from 7 - 9 PM! Classes start off with an energetic game and end with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime. Come out to Young Leaders Academy in September in West Allis or in Fox Point!

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Tween Club
The second Friday night of the month, DSAW transforms into a hoppin' place for tweens to hang out! This month at tween club we did crafts, played games and got into some very serious games of kickball. Next month's Tween Club will be on Friday, September 14th. Drop your 10+ year old off for a night of games, snacks, activities, and more. Sign up to join us!

Parent's Night Out
Each month, DSAW parents, grandparents, and caregivers get together for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers. This month we hung outside on the patio at Fourth-N-Long. We meet every second Friday of the month and will be back at Cleveland Pub in the future! Join us next time: September 14th!

Summer Wellness Class
Our summer session of Health and Wellness Class is still going strong! The class is designed for adults with Down syndrome ages 18-30 and focuses on exercise, healthy nutrition, cooking, and overall wellness. It's held at our office on Mondays and Thursdays. The fall session of this class begins September 10th and has two different locations! You can either attend class at the JCC in Whitefish Bay, or at our DSAW office in West Allis! Both classes are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM.


Green Bay

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10th Anniversary DSAW-Green Bay Down Syndrome Awareness Walk!
Our chapter kicked off DSAW's Awareness Walk season with a bang!! We had a beautiful day raising awareness and acceptance of our loved ones with Down syndrome. There were games, food, raffles, t-shirts, prizes, superheroes, and MORE to celebrate our 10th birthday. We EXCEEDED our fundraising goal, and we couldn't have done it without our many donors, sponsors, volunteers, walkers, and families. We love you!! We're looking forward to providing even more programs and services for our friends with Down syndrome.

Playgroup
This month's playgroup was held at Optimist Park! We meet the first Saturday of every month, and no RSVP is required! Join us :)

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Family Splash Time
We had another morning of Family Splash Time at the Manitowoc Family Aquatic Center in August! We LOVE that they adapt the waterpark for kids with special needs.

Haircut Fundraiser
DSAW-Green Bay also hosted our annual haircut fundraiser with HYPE Hair in August! Both kids and adults could get haircuts, and ALL of the proceeds went toward our Awareness Walk! We raised $668 at this incredibly successful event! 


La Crosse

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Breakfast Club Fundraiser
In August we hosted a fundraiser for our Awareness Walk at The Breakfast Club! 10% of all of the day's proceeds went toward our Walk! We also played egg roulette! In total, we raised $650!! Thank you so much to The Breakfast Club and for everyone who donated/participated!

Family Bowling Night                           
DSAW-COTH-GLA families had a fun night out bowling on August 11! DSAW provided dinner and bowling for families who had fun competing for strikes!

NASA Family Boat Ride
The weather held out this month for a NASA Family Boat ride! The fish were safe as we enjoyed a beautiful night on Lake Onalaska. Thanks DSAW and NASA for providing this incredible opportunity. Elizabeth, William and Eliza even got to drive the boat!

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Holmen Kornfest Parade
DSAW families and friends represented our organization in the Holmen Kornfest Parade on August 18! We walked together in the parade and told others about DSAW!

Parent's Night Out
On the last Saturday of August, the parents got to have some fun! We went to Slice of Chicago in Sparta for a night with other DSAW parents, grandparents, caregivers, and adult siblings. DSAW provided free apps, and we purhcased drinks! 


Sheboygan

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Above & Beyond Children's Museum Field Trip
In August, we took our monthly field trip to the Children's Museum for Special Needs Night! The exhibits were adapted, sound was turned low, and the museum was closed to the general public. Meet us in September for our next trip!

All Abilities Dance Class
This month, we had our final dance class at In Motion dance studio. We have had such a great time learning about our bodies and minds and discovering how to take care of them through dance!

Family Pool Party                                                                                                                                   
DSAW- Sheboygan families got together at Two Rivers Family Aquatic Center to enjoy a day of fun in the sun. We had a great time splashing around and staying cool!


Central WI    

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Pool Party                                                                  We had a beautiful day for a Pool Party on August 4! We went to Schulenburg Pool for a morning of swimming and snacks. 

Movie Under the Stars                                               DSAW-Central WI families also got to enjoy the outdoors at our movie under the stars! We watched The Lion King drive-in style and got to make popcorn, have a bonfire, and do crafts!


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Fox Cities

Pool Party
DSAW-Fox Cities gathered together for their Annual Pool Party this month! We look forward to seeing families and friends with Down syndrome of ALL ages at this event every year. Thank you to everyone who joined us!


Chippewa Valley

Pool Party
August was the month of Pool Parties, that's for sure! DSAW-Chippewa Valley also held their annual Pool Party at Wakanda Waterpark in Menomonie! 


MADSS

Rock County Family Picnic
Rock County families had a Family Picnic at the beginning of August! We went to Riverside Park in Janesville to enjoy their splash pad, eat food, and make crafts! We made a marble painting craft, played yard games, and hung out on the playground!

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Beloit Snappers Baseball Outing
On August 12, DSAW and MADSS families headed to a Beloit Snappers baseball game! We had fun meeting new families in Rock County.

Weekend Playgroup
On Saturday the 18th MADSS partnered with GiGi's to host a weekend playgroup! We love getting together with the little kiddos for a morning of play and a snack!

Down Syndrome & Alzheimer's Memory Cafe
DSAW and MADSS partnered to host a memory cafe in Madison for people with Alzheimer's and Down syndrome and their caregivers! We gave a brief presentation about the relationship between Ds and Alzheimer's, and we did a scrapbooking activity! Stay tuned for more Ds and Alzheimer's programming!

Meet a DSAW Leader: Alex

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Hello, my name is Alex Craig and I am the newly appointed Office and Event Assistant at the DSAW State Headquarters! My background is in Cell & Tissue Biomedical Engineering and I have worked on research projects such as organ preservation and cancer migration. Although extremely interesting and challenging, I felt a necessary interpersonal aspect of that career field was lacking for me. Thus, I took a plunge and moved to Nong Khai, Thailand alone last year! There I took on a position as a middle school science teacher, as well as a personal goal of eating every Thai dish I could get my hands on. 

Having the opportunity to travel to over 20 countries has allowed me to see the world from many different angles. Countless times I have been blown away at the beauty, as well as silenced by the hardships. It was through these experiences that I made the decision to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector, focused on advocating for historically disadvantaged and underrepresented populations. As a born & raised Milwaukee native, I didn’t have to look far to become enamored with DSAW, it’s mission, and the families we reach. 

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When I’m not working, you can most likely find me playing with my younger siblings Violet (1) and Liam (3), or sitting in the sun with my face in a book. Additionally, I volunteer as a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line and I’m a part time Trivia Host at a local Milwaukee pub. As you can tell, I stay busy with a wide variety of different tasks! However, working with people with Down syndrome brings me the most joy and fulfillment. I feel blessed to have this opportunity and look forward to continuing to bring my diverse background to this rewarding position.

If you are interested in volunteering for DSAW in the Milwaukee area, feel free to contact me! 

Looking Back on July 2018

Milwaukee

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Down Home BBQ
On Saturday, July 14th, GiGi's Playhouse and DSAW hosted our annual Down Home BBQ at the DSAW State office in West Allis! We had a bounce house, toddler play area, slip n' slide, inflatable splash zone, yard games, TONS of awesome food and even a live band. Families also had the opportunity to take some amazing family portraits, courtesy of Frenn Photography! A HUGE thank you to all our volunteers and grillers that came to help out, all of the families that came out to enjoy the day and Max & The Invaders for a great set of live music!

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Racine Fourth of July Parade                             On July 4th, DSAW families participated in the Racine Parade! We marched together with a DSAW wagon and showed off all of our beautiful, smiling faces!

Club DSAW
Self-advocates joined us at Moorland Golf Course for an afternoon of friendly competition and ice cream. We mini golfed, hung out and had an all around awesome time! 

Circles Class
In July, we wrapped up the first session of our summer Circles class. The Circles program teaches students how relationships can be formed and maintained according to the social norms & social boundaries of our day and age. DSAW staff member Erin Miller teaches the class with her job coach. On our last day, we had a pizza party celebration to reflect on all we learned! The second Circles session began the next week (July 25th). If your child could benefit from learning about personal boundaries and relationships, register here!

Young Leaders Bootcamp
We spent this month at Bootcamp learning about ourselves and others! We got to know our friends in real ways, made vision boards and created achievable, beneficial, personal resolutions!

Bootcamp meets on Tuesday nights at 6pm. Join us in August!

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DSAW Fun Days
On the 19th and 26th, we had our July Summer Fun Days! Fun Days are mini, one day respite opportunities for kiddos ages 10-16. We went on  awesome field trips to the water park and bowling!! Join us on August 9th for our next day of fun!

Kids Day Camp
Last month we also hosted a Kids Day Camp for children with Down syndrome ages 4-9. We went on field trips, did crafts and had a ton of fun!! 

Family Movie Night
Every month, we bring our blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and teddy bears and get comfy for a Movie Night at our West Allis office! This month we watched (and sang and danced to) the 2014 version of Annie. Join us next month!!

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Cooking with the Kiddos
Because of the Fourth of July Holiday, we didn't meet for cooking class on the first Wednesday of July. On the 18th, we made veggie pizza and yogurt parfaits! We even got to use fresh vegetables from our DSAW garden that our self-advocates planted at Bootcamp!! How cool! Cooking meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month at our state office in West Allis. Come cook with us on August 1st, from 5-7 PM!

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. This month we continued our music therapy program and also had a certified therapy pup come in for some good ole belly rubs! Playgroup runs from 9:30-11:30am, and we'll have music therapy from 10-10:45am. Music therapy will be available through August at no cost to your family! Sign up to join us!

Young Leaders Academy
Our Young Leaders Academy at our West Allis office meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month. In May we launched Young Leaders on the Northside! They meet on the first and second Friday nights. Classes start off with an energetic game and end with an hour of employment-readiness curriculum. Self-Advocates are invited to join our class anytime. Come out to Young Leaders Academy in July in West Allis or in Fox Point!

Tween Club
The second Friday night of the month is always our favorite since we have Tween Club! This month we celebrated the FIFA World Cup with soccer games and activities.  Next month's Tween Club will be on Friday, August 10. Drop your 10+ year old off for a night of games, snacks, activities, and more. Sign up to join us!

Parent's Night Out
Each month, DSAW parents, grandparents, and caregivers get together for a night of casual conversation and free appetizers. We meet every second Friday of the month! Come out and party with us on August 10th!

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Summer Wellness Class
Our summer session of our Wellness Class also started is still going strong! The class is designed for adults with Down syndrome ages 18-30 and focuses on exercise, healthy nutrition, cooking, and overall wellness. It's held at our office on Mondays and Thursdays.

Thank you, Chris!                                          We are SO sad to announce that July is the last month for our wonderful DSAW staff member, Chris Due. He is off to do great things and attend graduate school at Marquette University! We will miss you!


Sheboygan

Summer Picnic
This month we had our Summer Picnic at Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac! Though the weather was not looking too promising in the morning, the skies cleared up just in time to put a smile on everyone's faces! We had great food, desserts, yard games and sack races with awesome prizes! 

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Above & Beyond Children's Museum Field Trip
In July, we took our monthly field trip to the Children's Museum for Special Needs Night! The exhibits were adapted, sound was turned low, and the museum was closed to the general public. Meet us in August for the next field trip!

All Abilities Dance Class
We have LOVED getting to showcase our dancin' feet at the All Abilities Dance Classes at In Motion dance studio!! We sadly only have one class left, but stay tuned for details on a potential second session! Thank you to Kim Casper and all the helpers at In Motion that have made this class possible!


La Crosse

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NASA Boat Ride
Due to severe weather, we had to cancel our NASA boat ride on the 25th! But, fear not! We have another one just around the corner! Join us in August for our next ride.

Sandra Bartel Book Signing                               Sandra, author and loving sister of Joe, who has Down syndrome came out to Cabin Coffee on the 26th for a special, private book signing event! Joe and Sandra were both there to sign books and mingle!

Parent's Afternoon Out
This month, parents gathered at Vernon Vineyards for an afternoon of conversation. Meet us at Slice of Chicago in Sparta on August 25th for our next Parent's Night Out!


Green Bay

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Splash Time Event
In July, we got together with families from both Green Bay and Sheboygan for a day at the pool! This was a private event hosted by the pool for individuals with special needs. Come out to the Manitowoc Family Aquatic center on August 11th for another special Splash Time!! 

Playgroup
This months playgroup was held at CP Playground! Join us next month at Optimist Park. No RSVP required!

Day at The Beach
On the 22nd, DSAW families came together at the East Side Beach in Oconto Falls for a day of beach activities!

Mom's Night Out
We also had a Mom's Night Out at the Chatterhouse.  We will not have our usual Mom's Night Out in August, but join us the same day at the Awareness Walk! 


Central WI    

Guy's Night Out           

Dad's, brothers, uncles, grandpa's and other male caregivers gathered for a night out at Sconni's Alehouse. It was a great time full of food, drinks and conversation.


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 MADSS

Family Picnic
On the 15th, we got together at Badger Prairie Count Park for an afternoon of food and fun. Join us August 12th in Beloit for our upcoming Snappers Game Outing (tickets are only 2 DOLLARS!!!)