Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Family Fun Day in Newcastle - the celebrations continue

The recently established Newcastle Down Syndrome Support Group held a Family Fun Day at Speers Point ark on 15 March 2008 to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.
Families came from as far south as Erina and north as Tea Gardens. It was wonderful to meet new families and make new friends.
The children had lots of fun having their faces painted, playing games including an egg & spoon race and tug of war - though I'm pretty sure there were some 'grown ups' who got involved in this game too! The Police cars were a big hit - with the kids getting to clamber around them and use the siren as much as they liked???? The cardboard police car money boxes were also a big hit and kept the grown ups busy figuring out how to put them together.

We would like to thank the following organisations for their support - NSW Police - Lake Macquarie Command, Crowne Plaza - Hunter Valley, Oaks Pacific Blue Resort - Salamander Bay, Moonshadow Cruises, The Good Guys, Rosie's School of Rock, Brian Kelly Holden, Coles - Toronto, Out of Town 4WD, Baker's Delight - Edgeworth, Joe's Meat Market and Reid's Quality Meats.
Our special thanks to Helen Gadd, at the University of Newcastle Early Intervention Centre for her ongoing assistance in creating community awareness of the Newcastle group and her wonderful face painting! The kids loved it!

We look forward to holding a further great event next year to create another wonderful experience for family and friends to gather together. Click here to see all the photos in the gallery.

Easter meets World Down Syndrome Day in the Blue Mountains

Kathi and Rob organised an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids, on World Down Syndrome Day since this year it coincided with an unusually early Easter. And they don't let a little moisture stop anything too much in the Mountains:

Despite the fact that it poured with rain and the traffic was so congested that a few guests had to turn around and not come, we went ahead with the egg hunt and afternoon tea. The kids ran around looking for eggs in the rain and wet grass but didn't seem to mind and I think they found all the eggs??? About 40 people came and we raised $834.50 through a raffle and donations.
I didn't do everything that I thought about doing originally but it was nice to mark World Down Syndrome day in some way and hopefully everyone had a good enough time.

Thank you for braving the showers, kids and for fundraising while having fun - a great result for everyone.

The Newcastle Support Group are sending photos from their Fun Day too - hope to have them up in a few days!

Did you see the crowd at Melissa's Market Day on the Channel Ten News last week? People with Down Syndrome are everywhere! We knew that.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

World Down Syndrome Day: 21st March (3/21)

Senator Sue Boyce wrote for the Brisbane Courier Mail today, on World Down Syndrome Day (21st March) ......

There seem to be dozens of "days" in every week these days, marking everything from arthritis to Zen Buddhism. But, for purely selfish reasons, one that I hope will cut through is World Down Syndrome Day, celebrated tomorrow.

The date, the 21st of the third, was chosen to reflect the fact that Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) is caused by a triplication of chromosome 21.

This year's WDSD is only the third. It has taken a long time for the global community formed around Down syndrome to come together.

Click here to read the whole article online.

In the US, World Down Syndrome Day was introduced by actor Chris Bourke, when he rang the NASDAQ closing bell last Monday, 17th March.
Click here for the story and photos.

Photos and stories from local events will be posted as they arrive. You can send them to
marketing@dsansw.org.au - please tell us a bit about the event and who was there.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A few weeks into the new school year ..... how's it going?

The teachers are getting to know their students, and we hope the students are settling in too, especially those who have started school for the first time, changed to a new school or started high school - all major transitions that take time, thought and effort.

Down Syndrome NSW can assist the transition of students with Down syndrome into new educational environments, and progress through school in several ways:

- through the Learning, Education and Schooling pages on our website, we have provided links to the very best sources of information and resources available to assist teachers to facilitate learning for their students

- schools are welcome to take out membership of DS NSW, so that all of their staff gain access to our library; receive our regular Updates and Newsletter; are entitled to members' discounts for DS NSW training and education events

- we schedule several half-day and one-day workshops around NSW each year, some of them designed specifically for classroom teachers and school personnel. Over the next few weeks, we are holding workshops for teachers in Armidale, Warners Bay, Wollongong and Broken Hill.

- a "starting School" seminar for parents of children enrolling in primary school over the next couple of years is scheduled for 14th June.

- our information and support staff are available to assist with particular concerns by phone on 02 9683 4333 and email at support@dsansw.org.au

- by telling you about new discoveries, ideas, resources and events as they become available

- by helping you to find the additional services or programs that you might need from time to time

It's easy to underestimate, as a parent ,just how much you know about your child in particular, and about Down syndrome in general, even by the time they first start school. By then we've seen several years of development and learning, have closely observed our children in different environments, and made carefully considered decisions about how and where they will go to school.

Most teachers have not taught many students with Down syndrome, and some will never have encountered a child with Down syndrome at all. So it is important to be open and articulate about what your expectations are. "What I want my child's teacher to know" , an "action sheet" from the PACER Centre in MInnesota might be a real help in letting your child's teacher know what you hope for, and how your input can help your child and his teacher to have the best school experience.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Responses to publication of UK antioxidant trial report

Dr Len Leshin has posted his commentary on the clinical trial of "Supplementation with antioxidants and folinic acid for children with Down's syndrome" mentioned in this blog on 23rd February, on his highly respected website, Down Syndrome: Health Issues:

Science Daily has published an article about the trial :

Several responses to the antioxidant trial have been published in the BMJ online in Rapid Responses:

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Start of the NSW footy season and World DS Month ......

When your Patron plays for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, you sometimes get to go to special events in rugby league.

That happened yesterday for a number of young people with Down syndrome who were invited to the 2008 Charity Shield by DS NSW Patron, Craig Wing, to mark the kick-off for the new season. It turned into a party (of course), nicely topped up with a match-winning try scored by .... Craig Wing!

Everyone had a great time, none more than this fun loving group of league fans - there might even be a few Souths converts.

March 1 was also the beginning of World Down Syndrome Month (March) - we usually mark World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March (21/3 symbolising the three copies of chromosome 21 that gives rise to the condition we know as Down syndrome), but this year, since 21st March is Good Friday, we have spread the celebration s out over the whole month.

Email t4321@dsansw.org.au, or call Steve or Priscilla on 02 9683 1900 or 0424 044 930 to send your "World Down Syndrome Month" message for our commemoration page.