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.

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.

Down syndrome dancer is headed to Disney World

Thalia Arvelaez, a teenager with Down syndrome, is at a dance camp in Tampa this week. In mid-July, she’ll be at Disney World, dancing for the National Down Syndrome Congress. In November, she heads to Argentina to dance and raise Down syndrome awareness. Thalia’s teacher says she is a joy to watch. Her mother says Thalia loves applause — and when people give her flowers!

Tampa, Florida – Among the tapping toes at this summer camp class at the Patel Conservatory, you’ll find a pair of fancy feet belonging to Thalia Arbelaez. She loves to dance-all types.

“I like ballet, hip-hop, jazz, tap,” Thalia starts ticking off the list.

Thalia knows she looks a bit different than her classmates and she refers to herself as “special”. The 17-year-old has Down syndrome, a genetic condition that changes a child’s development, and she was born with a host of health problems.

Alicia Arbelaez recalls what doctors told her shortly after her daughter’s birth. “The doctor come to tell me, ‘this child is never going to walk.’”

But walk Thalia did and dance lessons at age 2 soon followed.

via Down syndrome dancer builds bridges with her feet | Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com 10 Connects.

Bicycling with special needs: Lose the Training Wheels Camp

TREXLERTOWN, Pa. — Learning how to ride a bike can be especially challenging for kids with special needs.

But the Eastern Pennsylvania Down Syndrome Center is trying to change that.

This year the group hosted a volunteer-driven camp to help children “lose the training wheels.”

via Anchors Away: Lose The Training Wheels – News Story – WFMZ Allentown.

Special Needs: Taking the fear out of doctors’ visits

Nobody looks forward to a dentist’s drill or giving a blood sample. But for people with special needs, these routine visits can be a cause for special terror. Often people with intellectual disabilities or autism get sedated or restrained so that they’ll stay still for a medical test. One Delaware mother came up with a better way.

via Taking the fear out of doctors’ visits | WHYY News and Information | WHYY.

Program could smooth a hard road to college for student with Down syndrome

A new program in Missouri is aimed at helping students with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities experience college and build skills that will take them from home to independence and employment.  It’s called THRIVE – for Transportation, Health, Responsibility, Independence, Vocation, Education. Read this Kansas City Star story about a possible participant in the THRIVE program.

Ask Mary Warm about her hope for her future, and she cocks her head. The bushy ponytail swings, the smile spreads across her face.

“I love kids, being around kids and hanging out with them, so I want to be a teacher,” said Warm, 18, a junior at Archbishop O’Hara High School in Kansas City.

For most teens Warm’s age, her goal is fairly easily reached with good grades in high school and four years of hard work in college. But for Warm, who has Down syndrome, a chromosomal disorder resulting in cognitive disabilities, it’s not as easy.

But the University of Central Missouri’s THRIVE program, which starts this fall, could well be a big step toward making it easier after she graduates from O’Hara.

via Program could smooth a hard road to college for student with Down syndrome – KansasCity.com.

Down syndrome stories shared on “My Great Story”

The National Down Syndrome Society has a fantastic new web feature, My Great Story, that tells the stories of some of the 400,000 people with Down syndrome living in the U.S. – often in their own words. There’s a place on the site for people to continue to share more great stories. Here’s the beginning of one of the stories, written by Sara Wolff of Pennsylvania:

Sara Wolff, The Public Speaker

Moscow, PA

My name is Sara Wolff. I am 24 years old and My Great Story is about my Public Speaking.

I’d first like to share a little bit about myself with you. I definitely have something unique about me—and that is an extra 21st chromosome, called Down syndrome… which, by the way, has never stopped me from doing anything!

I don’t think of myself as having “DOWN” syndrome but “UP” syndrome because I am an upbeat and positive person. I have been raised with the motto “Never” say “Never” and the words “I can’t” don’t exist.

via National Down Syndrome Society – Sara Wolff, The Public Speaker.