Friday, December 17, 2010

7 Reasons to Support DSI this season

This is an exciting time for the Down syndrome community in Indiana, and we are inviting you to be a part of it! Listed below are some of our favorite reasons to support DSI. I hope you agree and choose your favorite to financially support this holiday season as well.

SEVEN Reasons to Support to DSI:

1. Individuals with Down syndrome get the chance to go to college. Just like you or I, individuals with Down syndrome desire to be included in their community and to attend college. Thanks to the hard work of the Indiana Postsecondary Education Coalition, this is now possible in Indiana! Down Syndrome Indiana will create a website specifically on postsecondary education in Indiana for individuals with an intellectual disability and host a conference to show Indiana colleges what a successful program looks like and how truly inspiring it is! Click here for more information on this topic.

2. People with Down syndrome are beautiful.Join Down Syndrome Indiana as we partner with Midwest Fashion Week for a week of fashion-related events from March 12th to March 19th to show the entire Midwest how beautiful it is to live in an inclusive community. During this week, rising stars will shine, fashion will have a purpose, and we are definitely going to show off our designer genes! Click here for more information.

3. Approximately 1 out of every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common genetic condition.These parents don’t need you to feel sorry for them! They need resources and support as they raise their beautiful child just as any new parent would! Down Syndrome Indiana provides New Parent Packets that contain indispensible local resources for families that love a child with Down syndrome. Click here for more information.

4. Students with Down syndrome get a better education thanks to advocacy.Down syndrome Indiana provides Educator Toolkits free of charge! This is a rich resource full of books that encourage classroom inclusion and the better education of students with Down syndrome. Click here for more information.

5. The attitude of the father becomes the attitude of the family.Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.) exists to assist and support, through fellowship and action, the fathers and families of individuals with Down syndrome. Fathers are challenged to be a better and more involved father and husband, as well as a stronger advocate for his child with Down syndrome. Click here for more information.

6. Down Syndrome Indiana walks the talk.The Buddy Walk® was developed by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to bring together a wide range of concerned individuals to reach out to friends, family, and co-workers to promote awareness and inclusion for people with Down syndrome and to raise funds for education, research, and advocacy programs. The 2011 walk will be held on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at Celebration Plaza in White River State Park, and we want 5,000 participants! Click here for more details.

7. The entire family benefits when parents are involved in programs of support and resource enrichment.Down syndrome Indiana offers a variety of parent support groups across Central Indiana whose purpose is to help strengthen families that love a child with Down syndrome! Click here for more information.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and to dream of a better life for individuals with Down syndrome. Please click here to support Down Syndrome Indiana’s mission.
Dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome

Dr. Schreiner, 2011 Board Chair Lisa Tokarz-Gutierrez, Executive Director

P.S. The above seven options are just a sample of the many valuable programs available through Down syndrome Indiana that support and enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. For more information on these or any of our programs, please visit Also, please do not hesitate to contact Lisa at or call the office at (317) 925-7617.

Child Care Answers

Down Syndrome Indiana often gets questions about finding quality childcare for your child with Down syndrome and their siblings. I would like to introduce you to a resource that you may use to assist your search for quality childcare. It is called, Child Care Answers. Child Care Answers provides:

· Individualized referrals to family child care homes, centers, ministries, pre-schools,
before/after school and summer programs.
· Enhanced services for families with children who have special needs, including the
availability of an inclusion specialist on staff.
· Information on Indiana laws and regulations relating to child care.
· Education on how to choose a quality child care and early education program.
· A quality rating system called Paths to Quality to help you find the best fit.
· Bi-lingual staff.

Child Care Answers serves the following counties:

Information and applications for financial assistance with child care are available but I was advised that there is about a 9 month waiting list.

For more information, you can contact Child Care Answers at 317-631-4643 or you can visit their website at

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Down Syndrome Indiana Stars

On December 5th, Down Syndrome Indiana hosted its annual Holiday Party and Star Awards. I would like to introduce you to our winners:

Meet Ann Gibson:

Ann has been a wonderful board member and officer of DSI for many years. Early in Ann's service on the board the Buddy Walk(R) was without a leader and Ann stepped up and took charge, resulting in a very well organized and successful Buddy Walk(R). At a board meeting after that walk, Ann said that chairing the Buddy Walk(R) committee was one of the most rewarding things she had done. And, Ann has done all this service for children with Down syndrome and their families even though she does not have a family member with Down syndrome. When she agreed to serve on the board, she said that she wanted to do something to help others and she saw Down Syndrome Indiana as an organization in which she could fulfill that need. People with Down syndrome, their families and our community have benefited so much from Ann's commitment. Thank you Ann!

Meet Katie Shaw:

Katie is a remarkable individual with a drive for excellence! For Katie, no job is left undone. Whether it is filing paperwork, lifting heavy boxes, visiting donors, assisting staff, etc. Katie is one of the most dependable and reliable volunteers that we have here at DSI. She is an inspiration to all of us! Thank goodness for volunteers like Katie!

Meet Kate von Eiff:

Brian von Eiff, Kate's son, dreamed of going to college like his Best Buddy, Brad, but there were no programs in Indiana for Brian to attend. Brian's mom, Kate, didn't think that was acceptable and began conversation with local universities about allowing Brian to take courses there. Years later, there is a workgroup called the Indiana Postsecondary Education Coalition whose mission is built around a world in which young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities can choose to take college courses if they want to because it will help them to have a better career and to be more independent. Thank you Kate for helping Down Syndrome Indiana dream bigger for all of our families!

Why a Star?

Focus: Parents, siblings, educators, and other friends and family often describe individuals with Down syndrome as "stars" or the center of attention. The star logo recognizes that quality, and reminds us of our need to challenge ourselves and society to see all individuals with Down syndrome for their contributions to their community.

Achievement: A star has long been a symbol of achievement. The star logo reminds us of the importance of all "achievements" of individuals with Down syndrome.

Inspiration: As a group of people familiar with the history of Down syndrome and it's treatments, we recognize that we are still at the beginning of our journey to discover the full potential of individuals with Down syndrome. The star represents our collective reaching for a brighter future for all individuals with Down syndrome.

Friday, December 3, 2010

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Did you know that today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities Day? The observance of this day on December 3rd of each year was established to promote a better understanding of disability rights issues for persons with disabilities. It is also about celebrating the positive impact of inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every aspect of their political, social, economic and cultural life and was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

Expect a Proclamation to be issued by President Obama later today regarding international rights for people with disabilities.

Starting this month, the White House Disability Group began hosting monthly conference calls to update you on disability-related issues, and to introduce you to the folks in the federal government who work on disability issues. The first call was held today, December 3, at 11:00 am ET.

If you would like to be added to the distribution list to find out when the White House calls will be held, please send an e-mail to: Please include the following information:

Name and Title
E-mail address
Phone number

You can also follow issues on Facebook as well at:

The next call is expected to be in January 2011. You will be notified if you join the distribution list.

November 29th marked the 35th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This landmark piece of legislation supports, “ states and localities in protecting the rights of, meeting the needs of and improving results for children with disabilities and their families”. You can visit the website that was created by the Department of Education's Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) around IDEA by clicking on this link: