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.

Autism: It’s Summer Camp Time Again

If you are thinking about finding a summer camp for your child with autism, read this post by Debbi Taylor, an autism mom, Autism Research Specialist, author and speaker. She has come up with a great list of questions for camp directors to get you going.

I won’t lie, this time of year typically throws me into a panic. Memories of being burned repeatedly and having my poor son bounced from program to program each summer makes me dread the search for a summer camp solution that is within a single parent’s budget yet offers my child the support he needs.I always assume that providing all pertinent information, tips, schedule samples, copies of the IEP, challenges, typical behaviors, and dietary restrictions up front will be sufficient and ensure success for all parties involved. Then, usually a week in, I get a call from the director who acts blatantly surprised and shocked that my son is having problems in large, loud groups and is acting out.

via It’s Summer Camp Time Again… HELP! | Spirit of Autism.