Oliver Pratley is following in the steps of Rebecca Adlington and Michael Phelps

A Notts teenager with Down’s Syndrome has followed in the footsteps of Rebecca Adlington and Michael Phelps by being fitted with a Speedo Olympic swimming suit.

Oliver Pratley, 15, could not even swim three years ago but now he’s making waves in the swimming world, breaking several world records.The teenager has been given two pairs of £130 ($201) Speedo LZR racer jammer shorts which he will wear in the Down’s Syndrome Championships in Taiwan in September, where he will represent Britain.

Oliver was given a tour of Speedo in Ascot Road, Nottingham, and was shown around the Aqualab where the latest innovations in swimming attire are developed.

After squeezing into the tight shorts, the Blidworth teenager gave his verdict: “What can I say? They make me feel like a professional. Other people will think I’m the real deal in them.”

via Oliver Pratley is following in the steps of Rebecca Adlington and Michael Phelps.

Variety Philadelphia’s Disability Awareness Night at Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum Sponsored SafetyNet

Variety’s Night at Please Touch Museum is now open to children with ALL types of disabilities. The Please Touch Museum is opening its doors to Variety’s children and their families! It will be a night of hands-on and sensory-filled excitement as families explore the museum’s wonderful exhibits! A Resource Fair will also take place at the event with exhibitors from many organizations from all over the Delaware Valley including the event’s Presenting Sponsor SafetyNet!

The event Saturday, August 21 is from 6PM-9PM. All ages are welcome.

Follow the link for parking and registration information.

via Variety Philadelphia

Pennsylvania program helps disabled practice independence

hari DeGeorge wants to become a waitress — even if she has a lot of obstacles to overcome.

DeGeorge, 19, of North Huntington has Down syndrome. Because of her disability, she may never drive. And she is extremely shy.

But for the next year or two, DeGeorge and her twin sister, Jill, who has Down syndrome, will learn how to run a household and see what it takes to work in food service as part of a new program sponsored by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

“I want to go shopping,” said DeGeorge, a Norwin High School graduate. “I can’t wait to be able to plan everyone’s meals.”

The intermediate unit on Thursday conducted an open house of the newly renovated Dormont dwelling that will serve as a daytime training center for a program that starts this fall and continues through the school year.

The DeGeorges and six other young adults ages 18 to 21 — all high school graduates — will be responsible for food shopping, cleaning and other household chores. Each afternoon, they will visit workplaces to learn more about possible job paths.

via Disabled to get chance at independence – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Boy wins Down syndrome photography contest

“Sun” by Rory Davies, 12, was the winning photo in My Perspective, a photography contest for people with Down syndrome held by the U.K.-based Down’s Syndrome Association.

Kernow Koi by Zoe Wilton, 39, took second place.

Angel Statue  by Charlie French,  18, won third place.

The photos and seven other winning photographs spent last week at London’s Strand Gallery. The exhibit will now travel across the UK and around the globe. All the winning photographers received a new Olympus camera.

Rory Davies was unable to attend the awards ceremony but sent a statement: ““Thank you, I like looking at the view through the camera. I like using the camera, I like the way it works like a machine for your eye. My photographs make me feel happy. Winning the prize makes me feel happy, I feel like a winner. We will have a party at home. love Rory.”

via My Perspective Exhibition – Down’s Syndrome Association – Help for people with Down’s Syndrome.

How Parents Come to Accept Down Syndrome Diagnosis

The negative feelings parents first experience when told their child has Down syndrome in most cases will eventually turn into joy and resilience, U.S. researchers report.

The study authors have released preliminary findings of an online survey of parents of children with Down syndrome. The survey, begun in October 2009, drew more than 500 responses.

There were many similarities in how parents felt when they learned their child had Down syndrome, said the researchers at Kansas State University and Texas Tech University.

“The majority said it was very devastating, and went through periods of depression, grief, mourning and shock, and felt scared, angry, disappointed or helpless,” Briana Nelson Goff, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Human Ecology and a professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State, said in a university news release.

via How Parents Come to Accept Down Syndrome Diagnosis.

New store caters to caretakers of autistic children

Do you believe in angels?

The Moore family does — so much so, they’ve called on the celestial beings to market Angels for Autism, a 2,000-square-foot retail store in Rio del Plaza in Cathedral City that holds potential to empower and inspire.

Founded by LaVeda and Dean Moore, parents of 9-year-old Evan, the store is a one-stop shopping zone to serve parents, teachers and therapists of special needs children — some 6,500 of whom live in the Coachella Valley.

It offers products in a “stare-free” environment for children with autism and special needs in the areas of sensory integration, socialization, life skills, fine motor skills and therapy.

via New store caters to caretakers of autistic children | mydesert.com | The Desert Sun.

Middle school student with Down syndrome to lead Buddy Walk in memory of camp counselors

Garden City, N.Y., seventh-grader Matthew Castellano will lead The National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk Sept. 25 that starts in New York’s Central Park. He’ll be with NDSS Ambassador John C. McGinley (from TV’s “Scrubs”), Chris Burke (from “Life Goes On), and others.

Matthew attends Camp Anchor, a Long Island town camp for youths and adults with a wide range of disabilities. Every camper at Camp Anchor (which stands for Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation) has an individual counselor. Three young Anchor Camp counselors were killed in a car crash on their way to work July 15 — and Matthew and his group will be walking for them in the Buddy Walk.

Matthew and his group hope to raise $3,000 in the Buddy Walk.

The NDSS (National Down Syndrome Society) has chosen Matthew Castellano, to be this year’s “Self-Advocate Ambassador” for the New York City “Buddy Walk” in Central Park. Matthew is a 7th grader at the Garden City Middle School and attends Camp Anchor in Lido Beach, NY. Matthew and his team will be walking for his beloved camp Anchor staff counselors, Michael Mulhall, Jamie Malone and Paige Malone who were in a fatal car accident on July 15th, 2010 on their way to Camp Anchor. He will lead the walk along with celebrities, John C. McGinley from the TV show “Scrubs,” Chris Burke from the former TV show “Life Goes On” and several others. Together they will salute the amazing event participants who have raised money and awareness in support of individuals with Down Syndrome.

Help kickoff the NYC Buddy Walk in Times Square where 200 photos of individuals with Down Syndrome from all over the world were selected from thousands of photo submissions for the 2010 NDSS Times Square Video. The Times Square Video will be shown on the “MTV Plasma Screen.” NDSS will provide transportation from Times Square to the NYC Buddy Walk site at “The Great Hill” in Central Park.

via Middle School Student To Be “Self Advocate Ambassador” | www.gcnews.com | Garden City News.

Spanish soccer coach fulfills son with Down syndrome’s wish

The coach of Spain’s world champion soccer team, Vicente del Bosque, is a man of few words and gestures. However, last week he experienced one of the most emotional moments of his life when he fulfilled the dream of his 21 year-old son Alvaro, who suffers from Down’s Syndrome, by allowing him to hold up the World Cup trophy to the applause of the team.

“My son changed my life,” Del Bosque has said on more than one occasion. Alvaro is his second son, and Del Bosque learned that he had Down’s Syndrome several weeks after his birth. “At first we cried a lot,” he told author Gemma Herrero for her book, “39 Stories of Solidarity Surrounding Sports,” but he added, “Now when I look back I think, we were so foolish.”

via Spanish soccer coach fulfills wish for Down’s Syndrome son :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Autism and Summer: Summer Special Olympics

Nearly 3,000 athletes with autism, Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities are headed to Nebraska for the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

The Summer Games July 18-23 in Lincoln will feature athletes competing in 13 sports -  including swimming, soccer, track & field, bowling, golf, bocce, volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, powerlifting and  softball.

Organizers have erected a Special Olympics Town for the athletes, 1,000 coaches and 15,000 friends and family members expected to attend.

One feature – a 20-foot-long memory wall where people can write tributes to Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died last year.

While this national event is huge – and the world Special Olympics next year in Athens will be even bigger, Special Olympics events are held nationwide and around the world.  (Sixteen Special Olympics soccer players showed the world just how talented they are during the World Cup.)  At any level, as the athletes compete, they change attitudes about intellectual disabilities, and they become more confident and empowered.

Do you have a family member competing in the Special Olympics? Everyone’s a winner in these Games!

via Pershing to be Special Olympics Town.

Tim Shriver to speak at Special Olympics health symposium

Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics International and son of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, will be keynote speaker Saturday in Omaha at a Special Olympics health symposium on how to improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities.

Shriver titled his speech: “Have We Closed the Gap on Unmet Health Needs for People With Intellectual Disability?”

Have we?

No, he says. Many health-care professionals still don’t have the training to deal with the quality-of-life issues of people with intellectual disabilities. They have been trained to cure people, not support this population and help these people reach their potential.

via Tim Shriver to speak at Special Olympics health symposium.