Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. It occurs in approximately one in every 700 live births. Individuals with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21 that affects some or all cells. It is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder and is unrelated to race, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status. Although children and adults with Down syndrome share some common features, they look more like their immediate family members than like each other.
The mission of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) is to provide education, support, and resources to individuals with Down syndrome, their families, professionals, and the community while building public awareness and acceptance of the abilities of individuals with Down syndrome. DSACT’s vision is a world in which all members, including those with Down syndrome, are accepted, valued for their uniqueness, respected for their abilities and contributions, and assured the opportunity and choice to create their own path to fulfillment and success. Through annual events such as the World Down Syndrome Day, the DSACT Cocktail Bash, the DSACT Buddy Walk, and Down Syndrome Awareness Month, DSACT raises awareness about and advocacy efforts for Down syndrome throughout Central Texas.
For almost 30 years, DSACT has provided support, education, and resources to the Central Texas Down syndrome community. We do this work through our five core programs outlined below.
: DSACT’s Education Program provides parent-focused support to inform parents of legal rights, best practices, and resources to improve academic and employment outcomes for students with Down syndrome. To further enhance student academic achievement, DSACT collaborates with education professionals to increase their knowledge of and competence in recognizing and addressing the learning profile of students with Down syndrome. This includes behavior management techniques that contribute to student engagement in the classroom and community to develop skills to be contributing members of society.
: DSACT’s Medical Program encompasses the New Parent Program, outreach to hospitals and clinics, and an annual medical conference by leading Down syndrome research organizations. The New Parent Program offers support, resources, and information to new and expectant parents whose baby receives a Down syndrome diagnosis. New Parent Coordinators are trained volunteers who have a young child with Down syndrome and are matched with these new and expectant parents to offer nonjudgmental listening and support and a welcome basket full of local, state, and national resource information; toys; and books for both parents and baby. DSACT’s Medical Program also collaboratively develops a referral process with hospitals and clinics to ensure parents with a new Down syndrome diagnosis for their child are connected to DSACT’s resources and support, as well as provides training on best practices in delivering a Down syndrome diagnosis and the latest Down syndrome medical research.
*Parents Empowering Articulation in Kids (PEAK) Speech Therapy Program
: DSACT’s PEAK Speech Therapy program was the first speech therapy program in Texas to address the unique communication patterns and needs of individuals with Down syndrome. It is a 16-session program designed specifically to address the unique communication challenges faced by individuals with Down syndrome to give them the confidence and skills needed to succeed in school, social, and employment spheres of life. The program provides both group and individualized speech therapy services.
: By partnering with instructors, organizations, and other nonprofits, DSACT has built a diverse set of recreational classes and camps for individuals with Down syndrome and their siblings. These activities improve the health, wellbeing, and skills of individuals with Down syndrome through activities such as dance, fitness, performing arts, book club, and more. Classes and camps are age-appropriate, inclusive, and help individuals with Down syndrome build critical skills such as healthy habits; increased cardiovascular health, strength, and spatial awareness; improved speech and language; interpersonal development; and confidence.
: Free to DSACT families, social groups offer opportunities to connect and form lifelong friendships while providing support and skills development. Each social meetup is designed specifically for the unique needs and interests of each age- or culture-based group. Parent support and developmental milestones are key components of all six of DSACT’s social groups. As members age, the social meetups focus more on exploring the community and building relationships through age-appropriate socialization activities. To promote independence and life skills development amongst teens and adults, DSACT works with a recreational therapist to provide additional structure and guidance during social outings. For Spanish-speaking families impacted by Down syndrome, DSACT offers an all-ages group, Comité Latino. Through this group, the Spanish-speaking community has the opportunity to share many cultural traditions and celebrate together.
For questions regarding the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas donations, please contact Jennifer Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (512) 323-0808, or visit www.dsact.org