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Whilst the news headlines this week are enough to make Victorians feel a little edgy, we have lots to distract you in this month's edition of DNews.

First up we are thrilled to announce two new board members, Aileen Ashford and Wendy McNabb. Our partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital to trial a new clinic for children with Down syndrome and their families is going ahead, and whilst some of our upcoming face-to-face events will be modified we have plenty of online activities to keep you busy. Also included below is information about Fitskills, Planet Puberty, free First Aid opportunities, Paper Planet and more!

Hang tight Vic and we'll see you over the course of the month!

As usual, please contact us on 9486 9600 or email with questions, information, concerns or any other enquiry - no matter how big or small. 

Until next time...
From the team at DSV. 
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Victoria to Enter Seven-day Lockdown
DHHS are working as quickly as possible to keep accessible information up to date here
In the meantime, here are the key messages which are valid as of midday 27 May:
  • The Victorian Government has announced a seven-day lockdown starting midnight tonight, Thursday 27 May.
  • There will be five reasons to leave home: food and supplies, authorised work, care and caregiving, exercise for up to two hours with one other person, getting vaccinated.
  • Schools will close (remaining open for vulnerable students), childcare and kindergartens will be open.
  • Movement is restricted to within 5 kilometres of home.
  • Masks must be worn everywhere outside of the home unless the person has an exemption.
These restrictions apply state-wide. Visit for details, bearing in mind it may take a while for this site to be updated.

We understand the announcement of this lockdown may bring up some concerns and queries. Please don't hesitate to contact DSV on 9486 9600 or email if you'd like to speak with one of our staff members.
Welcome to Aileen Ashford and Wendy McNabb!
We are thrilled to announce our two new board members, Wendy McNabb and Aileen Ashford. Both Wendy and Aileen bring an incredible wealth of knowledge to Down Syndrome Victoria.

Aileen's lived experience as a sister to Michael who had Down syndrome installed in her a strong commitment to social justice and ensuring all children thrive, no matter their starting point in life. These are the threads that bind the fabric of her more than 30-year career across government and the not-for-profit health and community services sector.

Wendy's background in finance, manufacturing and logistics, alongside her lived experience as a parent to 18 year old James who has Down syndrome and her passion for ensuring regional families have access to all the resources DSV can provide stand her in good stead to support the leadership of our organisation.

Learn more about Aileen and Wendy along with the other members of the Down Syndrome Victoria Board here.

Don't miss these upcoming events at DSV

We're continuing to host online information sessions and group catch-ups through Zoom, as well as some face-to-face events. We hope you can join us in person, or from the comfort of your home, for a DSV event soon. 
Coming up:

+ Meet other parents and get the latest news from DSV with DSV Adult Support Manager Debby at our upcoming Zoom Coffee and Chat (15+ years) tonight - 27 May, or at the next opportunity which will be 17 June.

+ Join our online information session: Preparing Your Child For Kindergarten on 2 June and hear from experienced Kindergarten Teacher Corina Payne.

+ Don't miss our informative online session on Special Disability Trusts with Margaret Duncan on 3 June.

+ Our Laughter Workshops scheduled for 5 June, 12 June and 26 June with comedian Tracy Bartram will have adjusted dates due to COVID restrictions, please stay tuned while we make arrangements.
+ We have a number of opportunities for parents and carers of children aged 0-18 to attend a First Aid course free of charge at multiple locations and dates scheduled from 3 June. Due to COVID restrictions there may be some modifications to dates listed - please contact Madison for details
For more information and to register jump over to our website
Trisomy 21 Clinic opening at Royal Children's Hospital

Down Syndrome Victoria is partnering with the Royal Children’s Hospital to trial a new clinic for children with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and their families. This clinic will be a first in Victoria and has been designed with input from pediatricians, families and people with Trisomy 21.  

The clinic will be staffed by a pediatrician with a special interest in the management of Trisomy 21, and Down Syndrome Victoria’s Family Support Manager. The clinic aims to provide expert medical care and education for families. It will also support families to access allied health, peer support, and government supports, e.g. NDIS, Centrelink. As part of the project we will also trial a practical family healthcare tool, which will support clinicians across Victoria to provide expert level care for children with Trisomy 21.  

Read the full story here.

We would like to acknowledge the Royal Children’s Hospital Department of General Medicine, Australian Government Department of Social Services and Melbourne Disability Institute.

Club21 Update

Club21 has been back face-to-face and loving it. We braved the cold for our first outing in April, to the Triennial Exhibition at the NGV. We have been catching up every two weeks and have done a music class and visited the Funky Farm where we had enormous fun discovering Australian animals and petting wombats and dingos! Club21 Eastside has met up to sing Karaoke and play tenpin bowling. The Teens have got back together to check out the Uoouoos and also to sing Karaoke together for a few hours.  

Coming up we are planning on playing mini golf at Holey Moley in the city along with much more fun for all the groups for the coming months ahead.  

We’d love to acknowledge our wonderful volunteers, particularly in light of Volunteer Week in May! In June we will have a Club21 lunch and volunteer thank you. We couldn’t run the face-to-face program without the support of our volunteers, so, THANK YOU! 

We also continue our online program with an activity on every day except Sunday! We run music, small chats, social activities, bingo, karaoke, trivia, as well as the ever popular Zumba, Exercise, and the weekly Disco. In April we had a Q&A session with Luke Jacobz from Home and Away! Luke was impressed by our questions.  

We are also excited to welcome two new faces to the Club21 team: Lucy Paveley and Catalina Gonzalez! You will all get to meet them in our online and face-to-face activities over the next few weeks. Lucy and Catalina will be facilitating online activities in June and they can’t wait to meet you all and to join in the fun.  

In light of recent events in Melbourne there may be some changes to our upcoming face-to-face activities, but in the meantime we will forge ahead as per usual. Stay tuned.

If you are keen to join Club21 or connect with us through Zoom please contact Helen More on or phone 0478 315 533.  

'Becoming a Leader' Graduation

Recently seven DSV members successfully completed the Down Syndrome Australia Leadership Training Program ‘Becoming a Leader’.  

Working with Kylie from DSA and Madison from DSV, members completed the program over six weeks, learning about rights and responsibilities, meetings, public speaking and leadership. With the opportunity to participate in an in-person graduation ceremony where members gave a speech about leadership and their plans for the future.  

We would like to congratulate Cailin, Amelia, Tom, Zac, Chloe, Jared and Crystal for their successful completion of ‘Becoming a Leader’ training. We look forward to seeing what you achieve next on your leadership journey.  

Read the full story here.


In 2018 DSV became part of a feasibility study called FitSkills: a 12-week community-based exercise program in which young people with disabilities exercised with a student mentor. Twenty-five of the participants were people with Down syndrome.  

The outcome of the feasibility study has recently been published and it was deemed that FitSkills has potential to have substantial reach in providing community-based fitness and social participation options for young people with a disability. Particularly important is that this trial provides evidence of the feasibility of community-based exercise programs being successfully adapted for young adults with complexities under the guidance of a physiotherapist, where in the past they may have been excluded from exercise studies altogether.  

Following on from the publication of the FitSkills program, FitSkills has now been selected as a finalist for the VicHealth Active Recreation Initiative of the Year Award at the Victorian Sports Awards. We would like to congratulate Nora Shields for this recognition and are thrilled to continue to work with Nora and partner groups on the next exciting phase of FitSkills.

We would love to hear from anyone who participated in the FitSkills program. Please email Debby Fraumano at  

Hume Retirement Village Ladies Lunch Fundraiser

On April 23 Zoe Shearer (Health Project Manager) and Sonia Bonadio (Family Support Manager) headed up the Hume Highway to Albury/Wodonga to attend the Hume Retirement Village Ladies Luncheon.   

This year the Hume Retirement Village held its annual fundraising lunch with the funds raised donated to Down Syndrome Victoria. Down Syndrome Victoria and the Hume Retirement Village share a special bond as it is the hard work of the volunteers that live there that are the driving force behind our collaborative initiative 'The Perfect Gift'.  

In 2019, Cathy Gibb, (from Hume Retirement Village) approached DSV with an opportunity to extend our care and support to families who had recently had a baby born with Down syndrome through ‘The Perfect Gift’ – providing a gift to welcome and connect families who have a baby born with Down syndrome in Victoria.   

Powered by a group of dedicated volunteers and with DSV’s support, 26 families who have welcomed a new baby with Down syndrome have since been congratulated with a 'Perfect Gift’.   

The items included in ‘The Perfect Gift’ are either purchased, donated or handmade by the dedicated volunteers from The Hume Retirement Village, Albury. The gift baskets are shipped to DSV, where a member of the team personally delivers them or pops the package in the mail to new families, along with congratulations and an offer of support.   

The work we do with the Hume Retirement Village is an outstanding display of collaboration and community coming together. It was therefore an amazing opportunity that some of our team were able to attend the luncheon and not only thank the volunteers but the entire village for their support of DSV.   

Cathy Gibb (Hume Retirement Village) and Zoe Shearer (DSV) at the Ladies Luncheon

Wodonga Morning Tea

While up on the border Zoe and Sonia took the opportunity to connect with some families in the region. A morning tea was held on Saturday 24th April. This was a great opportunity to meet some of our members and their families. Despite embracing new technology in the last year allowing DSV to connect with more members than ever before, there is nothing quite like a face-to-face catch up over a good coffee. During the morning tea we were able to share with our members in Wodonga some updates about DSV, in particular in regards to the Health Project. We also valued the opportunity to hear from our members about the things that are most important to them, what could be done better, and most importantly how DSV can better support all families in Victoria.

To learn more about the Perfect Gift or Family Support at DSV contact Sonia Bonadio at

Morning tea in Wodonga

Strengthening our Mental Health! 

COVID-19 and its ripple effect has seen for some of us our resilience and mental health really struggle this year. At DSV we have recognised this and have been offering a few different programs for people with Down syndrome as a result. A few weeks ago we kicked off a six-week online strengthening mental health program for adults with Down syndrome and last weekend we had our first face-to-face Art therapy session at our Abbottsford office which was loads of fun. In June we have a series of three face-to-face Laughter workshops happening which should be a hoot, you can find the registration information here (please note there may be some adjustment to the dates currently listed due to COVID-19 restrictions).

If you missed out we are planning to run these sessions again later in the year in regional areas.

Monash Research Opportunity - 
Attention profiles in children with an intellectual disability 

Difficulties with paying attention in class can impact children’s learning. Understanding attention profiles is an important part of developing individual approaches to help children achieve their learning potential. Monash University are developing a new parent rating scale to measure attention strengths and difficulties in children and adolescents with an intellectual disability.

Monash University are recruiting families who have a child aged 6 – 18 years. The research will involve parents completing some questionnaires and their child completing activities on an iPad. Activities will be done at your child’s school or another agreed location; this research does not involve families having to travel.

For more information, please contact Dr Nerelie Freeman at the Faculty of Education, Monash University on 9905-4391 or by email:

This research has gone through Down Syndrome Victoria's Board of Management ethics approval process.
5 Day, 100km Fundraising Walk

DSV would like to offer a huge THANK YOU to Martine Morrison and her team on their recent 5 day - 100km walk, raising over $5000 for Down Syndrome Victoria!

Martine, her Aunty Syl and colleagues from Point Cook Dog Training and Daycare completed the walk with funds being raised from many of their clientele. 

Thanks Martine and co, we hope you had plenty of time to put your feet up post-walk!

Paper Planet

Paper Planet is a universally accessible experience that families find inspiring and utterly captivating. 

This season of Paper Planet, presented by Polyglot Theatre and Abbotsford Convent for Convent Kids, is designed to specifically meet the needs of families who have a child or children with a disability and encourages the participation of all family members. 

Audiences are invited to create a beautiful world inside a forest of tall cardboard trees, using only paper, tape and their imaginations. Everyone plays together in this magical place to create creatures, plants, costumes, characters, stories and adventures. Paper Planet is child-led, deeply involving and highly sensory, and sure to delight the whole family. 

26, 28-30 June, $10 per family booking. Specialist school sessions available 24-25 June. 

For more information about access and booking, click here.

 This season is supported by the City of Yarra. 

 #PolyglotTheatre #AbbotsfordConvent #ConventKids 

Planet Puberty 

Puberty is a world like no other – for both you and your child. That’s why Family Planning NSW has created a new website, specifically to help parents and carers of children with an Intellectual Disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder navigate this strange new world.

The website provides practical advice on subjects like menstruation, dealing with mood swings and emotional changes, and even strategies on how to cope with parental anxiety. It’s real world advice, easily accessed.

Visit Planet Puberty for further information.
Show Us You Can Play!
DSV are excited to share information about Disability Sport & Recreation's latest campaign, Show Us Your Can Play! Show Us You Can Play! is a series of uplifting stories of people with a disability who are living proof that participating in sport and recreation is within reach for us all and is a right for all Victorians. 

The series addresses the social isolation and mental health concerns that people with a disability experience, to better understand and see the life-changing impact sport and recreation can have on people's lives. 

Through watching, sharing, and engaging with this series, we hope you will not only consider how to get involved - but inspire and uplift others who may benefit from a greater awareness of how our entire community can become more active.

For further information and to submit your video please click here.

Do you have a story for DSV?

If you have a story, achievement or milestone you would like to share with the DSV community, we'd love to hear from you. Please email
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Down Syndrome Victoria · 18/71 Victoria Crescent · Abbotsford · Melbourne, VIC 3067 · Australia