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It's hard to believe that Summer has almost passed, but with March fast approaching... so too is World Down Syndrome Day!

At DSV, we've been eagerly planning some exciting events and opportunities for our community that we're thrilled to share with you. 

In this month's edition of DNews, you'll get the latest on how we'll be celebrating World Down Syndrome Day and what's coming up on the DSV calendar - with many virtual and face to face events for you to participate in. We can't wait to connect with more of you in person this year!

You will also find valuable information about the COVID-19 vaccination, some tips from the Education team about how to support your child in the new school year and some inspiring community stories.

Please contact us on 9486 9600 or email info@dsav.asn.au with questions, information, concerns or any other enquiry - no matter how big or small. 

Until next time...
From the team at DSV. 
Do you enjoy reading DNews? Share the love by clicking here to send DNews to a friend. 
Family Fun Day, sold out!
 
Tickets to our 2021 Family Fun Day at Werribee Zoo sold out in just one day!

For those who did secure a ticket, thank you for your support and we can’t wait to see you all on Sunday 21 March to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day!

We would have absolutely loved to welcome all of you to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with us, but unfortunately we are unable to extend further invitations as there are occupancy limits in place to ensure everyone’s safety on the day.

We currently have a waiting list for tickets. If you would like to be added to the waiting list please contact info@dsav.asn.au or phone 9486 9600.

We’ve also got our sights set on future years and there will be plenty of exciting activities coming up with DSV in 2021!
Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with Lots of Socks 2121

There's still time to get involved in our Lots of Socks campaign in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March by wearing or selling our official socks for 2021!

Artists Kendall Perkins and Peter Rowe collaborated to create a design to celebrate Australia’s Great National Wonder, the Great Barrier Reef.

Socks can be purchased by the box to sell at your workplace, school, kinder, club or bought by the pair.

Selling socks is a simple way to raise funds for Down Syndrome Victoria to continue our work supporting and empowering people with Down syndrome to have full access to social and economic inclusion.

Thanks to our friends at Down Syndrome Queensland for helping make this wonderful initiative available for all of Australia!

Click the button below to learn more and purchase your box of socks.

If you can't get your hands on a pair of official socks, you can still join in! We encourage you to wear your most colourful socks on World Down Syndrome Day and use them to spark a conversation about Down syndrome and diversity. 

Rock your socks, take a sock selfie and use our hashtags so we can ensure to spread the word about World Down Syndrome Day! 
#WDSD2021 #WDSD #downsyndromeawareness #rockyoursocks #lotsofsocks
Lots of Socks

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:

+ Come along for our first Coffee and Chat (+15 years) for 2021 from 8pm-9pm this evening, 25 February.

+ Our next Coffee and Chat (0-15 years), is coming up soon. Join Sonia on 17 March to get the latest news from DSV and connect with other parents. 
+ Educators are invited to join our 'Teaching a child with Down syndrome' session on 3 March, providing guidance, tools, ideas and resources that you can incorporate into your educational content.

+ Educators can also join our Curriculum Differentiation session on 16 March for information to help ensure all students can access the Victorian curriculum on the same basis as their peers.
+ Let’s learn about friendships, dating and what informed consent is. In this three hour Respectful Relationships workshop on 27 March for people with Down syndrome, participants will learn about the laws around sex and relationships and how to say “no”.

+ Join our workshop on 8 April for information on Wills and Estate Planning for a family member with a disability.

For more information and to register jump over to our website

COVID-19 vaccinations

International research has shown that adults with Down syndrome are at significantly greater risk of serious illness or mortality if they contract COVID-19.

Down Syndrome Australia (DSA) has been in regular communication with the Government regarding our concerns about the increased risk faced by people with Down syndrome, which has included sharing relevant research with the Advisory Committee for the COVID-19 Response for People with Disability and raising the importance of early access to the vaccine when it became available.

We are pleased that the Government has prioritised access to the vaccine for people with a disability as part of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out strategy

Please see the recent statement that was released by DSA which can be accessed via the link here.

Additional information about the safety of the vaccine for people with Down syndrome is available from the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group USA. If you have specific questions about your own medical circumstances, you should address these to your health professional.

Pathways to Independence, we want to hear from you!

The Pathways to Independence project aims to empower people with Down syndrome to develop independence and make choices about their lives, as well as support families who are looking to set up independent futures for their children with Down syndrome.

We'll be running a range of workshops in 2021 for people with Down syndrome including:

  • Community participation
  • Decision making
  • Relationships
  • Self advocacy
  • Staying healthy
  • NDIS
And six family workshops including:
  • Building and supporting independence
  • Supported decision making
  • Circles of support
  • Housing options
  • Community connections
  • Supporting healthy lives

We're keen to find out what you are interested in learning and the best way to deliver this training and invite you to select and complete the relevant survey button below.

Survey for people with Down syndrome
Survey for family members

A message from the DSV Education team

2021 is off to a flying start and it has been great to see children back in the classroom (with the exception of a few days during lockdown this month). We're looking forward to a successful year visiting schools and helping teachers to support children with Down syndrome in their class.

To help the year get off to a good start, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Establish regular communication with the class teacher. A communication book may be a good way to swap information between home and school so you are up to date with what is happening in your child’s school life.
  • Keep in mind that your child’s teacher is also starting a new school year, give them some time to adjust to their new class and get to know the children.
  • Encourage independence at home as your child will be expected to be independent within the classroom environment.
  • Remember that learning takes time, be patient and positive.
  • Allow time to rest and relax after school.
  • Keep to a similar routine as much as possible.

Does your child’s school know about World Down Syndrome Day? This is a great opportunity for schools to raise awareness about Down syndrome as part of the Lots of Socks campaign which can help to spark conversations about diversity in the classroom. For more information about Lots of Socks and some ideas to share with your school, click here.

For any assistance please don’t hesitate to call the DSV office on 9486 9600 or email the Education team at education@dsav.asn.au.

Wishing everyone a great year ahead in 2021!

Margaret's Fun Run

Margaret’s Annual Fun Run / Walk began in 2020 for Margaret’s first birthday and was a huge success with more than 100 people attending.

This year was no exception, with the event raising an amazing $1,942 for DSV.

Margaret's mother Nicole Bryson said, "We feel strongly about raising money for DSV as a way of showing our gratitude for their support, which we know we will continue to rely on for many years to come.

"It’s a great opportunity to raise money for DSV, increase awareness and understanding of Down syndrome and to celebrate our daughter," she said.

We'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Bryson family from the team at DSV for your support and contributions.

Alannah hits the road!

Last year Alannah McKeown set her sights on achieving one of her greatest goals - her learner permit. And, hard work and determination paid off with Alannah now proud to be hitting the road with her new L-plates after scoring top marks on the VicRoads test.

Alannah said, "I will be able to get myself to work, to dance, to the shops and to visit friends. 

"I have dreamed about having my own car and what colour it would be and saved enough money to buy my own car. It should be ready for my 25th birthday in May."

Together with her mother Judith, Alannah started preparing for her test by reading through the rule book, before a support coordinator at her workplace, the Purple Chicken Café, began coaching her through the practice tests.  

Judith's advice for other parents is to, "Always have ‘getting your learners permit’ as an option, even if it never progresses to a license! To see these young people showing their permits to each other is a joy.
 
"VicRoads can also provide support for our young people to sit their test/s with a staff member sitting with them as a ‘clarifier’ to explain any questions if assistance is needed.  This needs to be pre-arranged when booking the test to ensure there is staff to cover."
 
Alannah is now having driving lessons through a specialised driving school with funding for this through her NDIS plan. She will be assessed for her license by an Occupational Therapist through the driving school. They will assess what, if any, restrictions need to be placed on the license.

From the team at DSV, congratulations Alannah!

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 lucyb@dsav.asn.au.
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Down Syndrome Victoria · 18/71 Victoria Crescent · Abbotsford · Melbourne, VIC 3067 · Australia