Monday, March 24, 2014

Buddy Walk® 2014 Team Registration Now Open!

Once again, we will gather to celebrate in Celebration Plaza of White River State Park in beautiful downtown Indianapolis, with the walk beginning at noon along the scenic canal loop. This family-friendly event is open to all children and adults with Down syndrome, their families, friends and thousands of local supporters. Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 11, 2014 and be prepared to have a great experience!


We, at Down Syndrome Indiana, are so grateful for the hard work and dedication of our families and friends, not just in October, but year round! To celebrate your success and reward a few that go above and beyond, we have a few Buddy Walk® incentives to ring in the new year! Best of luck!

·         Each team that registers online via First Giving by Monday, September 22nd will receive a customized team sign to carry proudly as they walk along the canal;


·         For every $50 a team raises, the captain is eligible to receive one (1) event t-shirt and food voucher (while supplies last) that he/she may distribute to team members the day of the walk;


·         Any team that raises $5,000 by August 1st will be featured on a billboard in central Indiana this fall, highlighting their loved one and promoting the 17th Annual Buddy Walk® in Indianapolis;


·         The team that raises the most money (online and offline) by Friday, October 3, 2014 is considered the “winning team” and will have their pictures featured on promotional items for the Buddy Walk® in 2015*; * The “winning team” from the previous year’s walk is ineligible to be named the first place team for consecutive years. Eligibility as a “winning team” will be re-instate the following year (2015). If the ineligible team is able to match their fundraising amount from the previous year by Monday, September 29th 2014, they will be awarded a special “VIP” area to decorate as they choose and to use as a special place to gather and celebrate at the walk in 2014. 


·         The top three (3) individual fundraisers will receive awards and be recognized at the Buddy Walk®;


·         Additional awards and prizes will be presented the day of the Buddy Walk® for teams that show the most spirit, travel the farthest, and exemplifies the true spirit of the Buddy Walk®!


There are currently 8 teams registered for the 17th Annual Buddy Walk – that is 5% of our goal for 200 teams! Keep up the great work, and be sure to encourage your friends, family and neighbors to join us on October 11th!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Down Syndrome Indiana Participates in Disability Awareness Month 2014

March 2014 is Disability Awareness Month and Down Syndrome Indiana, along with individuals, businesses and organizations across the state will be recognizing the abilities of people with disabilities. The Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities has created a new campaign to help educate Hoosiers about disability-related issues and remind everyone of the importance of access, engagement and relationships in making all our communities better places to live.


While Disability Awareness Month continues to focus on inclusion for people with disabilities, the 2014 campaign theme, “Dream to Dare,” reminds us that if we want to have the communities of our dreams, we must work together to create communities that are sustainable, accessible, economically viable and encourage civic and social engagement for all. This year’s campaign materials use poetic text to help frame our attitudes toward what we all want to achieve – a community that is healthy, safe and friendly for all.


“We are very excited about theme of this year’s campaign because encouraging all citizens to develop relationships and work toward common goals is of great importance as we strive to create sustainable and accessible communities for citizens of all ages and ethnicities, with and without disabilities,” said Suellen Jackson-Boner, Council executive director. “The Council is extremely pleased to learn that Down Syndrome Indiana is joining in this effort.”


As in previous years, Disability Awareness Month 2014 will be celebrated with community-based activities carried out by thousands of advocates and people with disabilities throughout the state. Activities include mayoral proclamations, art contests and awareness campaigns in schools, government agencies and businesses.


For more information about Disability Awareness Month activities and how you can participate, call Lisa Wells at 317-925-7617.  If you would like to order free Disability Awareness materials from the Council , visit or contact Kim Dennison at Borshoff, (317) 631-6400 (voice); (317) 631-6499 (fax); or (e-mail).

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sign the Petition

February is about Self Advocacy. I cannot think of a better example of the power of Self Advocacy than the beautiful story of Sara Wolff in Pennsylvania. Sara recently created a petition on to ask for congress to pass the ABLE Act. On February 5th, while on a conference call regarding public policy, the petition was discussed. At that time, the goal was to get to 7,000 signatures. When I logged on to the petition the following Monday morning, just 5 days later, the number of supporters was over 178,000!!!! Please add your voice to this important cause. Please sign Sara’s petition. Please show congress that it is time to pass the ABLE Act. Please show congress that America cares about people with a disability and believes in their right to save for their future just like every other American family. Make your voice heard. Sign the petition today.

Background Information

The ABLE Act currently has 326 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 62 co-sponsors in the Senate. The ABLE Act, when enacted into law, will give people with Down syndrome and their families the ability to save for the future just like every other American family. Currently, barriers to employment, independent living, and ultimately, economic self-sufficiency, exist because individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities must rely on services like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) proved, however, to qualify for these services individuals with Down syndrome may not have more than $2,000 in assets, and earn no more than $674 in a monthly income.

The ABLE Act will eliminate barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s eligibility for any federal benefits program. The legislation also contains Medicaid fraud protection against abuse and Medicaid pay-back provision when the beneficiary passes away. The ABLE Act has been endorsed by over 50 national disability, religious, and nonprofit organizations. By cosponsoring and passing the ABLE Act, you will give more individuals with a disability and their families the ability to save for their child’s future just like every other American family!

Dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome,


Lisa Wells, Executive Director



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NDSC Volunteer Registration is now open!

The National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) is recruiting volunteers for their annual convention July 11th through 13th 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Registration is now available at: 735 volunteer slots are available. Please pass this along to anyone that you know of who may be interested in volunteering, such as, OT’s, PT’s, ST’s, students, educators, siblings, teams or corporations.

Friday, January 17, 2014

First Call Training

Do you remember what it felt like when your child first received the diagnosis of Down syndrome? Do you want to be there for new parents to let them know that everything is going to be okay? That having a child with Down syndrome may just turn into one of the best things that ever happened to their family? If that is you, please join Down Syndrome Indiana at its First Call Training on Saturday, February 22nd 2014 from 9:00AM to 12:00Noon. When you complete the training, you will be ready to be the first call that new parents make when they receive the diagnosis. To RSVP for this truly life enhancing training, please e-mail by Valentine’s Day.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Inclusive Classrooms Survey

Research has shown that there is a positive relationship between the amount of time that a student spends in the general education classroom and a student’s academic achievement, communication skills and social relationships. If you are the parent of a child with a disability, especially Down syndrome, or an educator and live in Central Indiana, would you please take this survey and tell us if your classroom is inclusive? Click here to take survey.


Based on a study published in 2008 and entitled, “Membership, Participation and Learning in the General Education Classroom for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders who use AAC” the indicators mentioned in this survey can help determine if a school or classroom is inclusive and also show areas where improvements can be made.

The results will be used to help Down Syndrome Indiana understand the education climate that currently exists for students with a disability and to track results over time to measure whether there is perceived improvement. Survey respondents name and contact information will not be released to schools.

For more information about Down Syndrome Indiana, please visit today.

For more information on inclusive classrooms, there is an excellent webinar available from the National Down Syndrome Society at:

Friday, December 27, 2013

In 2044, thirty years from now, Down Syndrome Indiana envisions a state where...

*If the text appears messy, please click on this link:

People with Down syndrome are included and successfully integrated into their communities:

·         It is widely understood that inclusion is a Civil Rights issue;

·         The Buddy Walk® successfully attracts both families of children with Down syndrome and those that have no connection at all;

·         People with Down syndrome receive the best educational tools, supports and curriculum available;

·         Urban planners and architects recognize the need to plan and build according to Universal Design principles;

Accurate and Up to Date Information is distributed: 

·         Down syndrome organizations serve as a one –stop shop for information and resources about Down syndrome;

·         Down syndrome Indiana’s website has appealing videos and easy to read, positive information about Down syndrome;

·         New Parent Packets are digital; 

·         DSI has an effective and far-reaching prenatal outreach program to ensure that accurate and up to date information is distributed when parents receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome; 

·         Medical professionals give the diagnosis of Down syndrome in an empathic, caring way and distribute accurate and up to date information to their patients;

·         The nonprofit community will continue to learn from the business community in terms of creating a system of best practices and consistent messaging through the use of shared materials;

All families regardless of race, ethnicity or income level feel included in the Down syndrome community:

·         There are a variety of community groups (smaller subsets of the larger Down syndrome organization) created to make sure that families have local support;

·         There will be an increase in groups that serve people with Down syndrome working together collaboratively to meet the needs of their families;

·         A high quality, well respected, “First Call” program promptly connects new parents with trained families;

·         All parents will have easy access to accurate and up to date information through their local library, community center, OB/GYN office, pediatrician’s offices, social worker, case manager or  local hospital;

·         There will be a variety of tutoring programs, literacy programs and free or low cost speech, occupational and physical therapy options available to parents;

Adults with Down syndrome desire to live more independently and:

·         Adults with Down syndrome work in community based employment;

·         Individuals with Down syndrome choose to participate in postsecondary education opportunities available in and out of state;

·         A larger variety of housing and independent living options available;

·         There are plenty of high quality affordable adult day programs and respite care opportunities; 

There is a medical model vastly different from the one that exists in 2014:

·         Down syndrome is no longer the least funded genetic condition per capita;

·         People with Down syndrome receive the best medical care to reach their full potential;

·         There are a variety of low-cost or free options for therapies;

Down Syndrome Indiana is a healthy, vibrant and sustainable organization:

·         Down Syndrome Indiana directly serves 50% of families that have a loved one with Down syndrome and live within DSI’s geographic scope. The remaining 50% of families are served indirectly; 

·         Down Syndrome Indiana’s main customers will be parents, guardians and housing facilities that cater to those with a disability, such as group homes;

·         Down Syndrome Indiana is not a place in and of itself. It is an integral part of a larger community working together to meet the needs of people with a disability;   

·         DSI serves the entire span of ages;

·         Down Syndrome Indiana staff, board members and volunteers have a high level of cultural competency;

·         Down Syndrome Indiana has a $5 Million dollar endowment ;

·         Down Syndrome Indiana successfully plans for the succession of its leadership;