The Down Syndrome Advocacy Foundation (DSAF) was formed by a group of families that are striving to make a difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by an extra copy of the 21st chromosome (also referred to as Trisomy 21). This extra genetic material effects many aspects of an individual’s development including; cognition speech/language, motor skills, overall health, as well as physical characteristics.
However, children with Down syndrome share more similarities with their typical peers than differences. It is these similarities in conjunction with proper supports that result in children with Down syndrome being successfully included in all aspects of community life; general education, recreation, housing, and employment.
What is Inclusion?
Natural settings are those in which the individual would spend time had he or she not had a disability. These settings include, but are not limited to home, preschool, nursery schools, neighborhood school classrooms, child care, places of worship, employment, community recreational and other activities that are enjoyed by children and families.
Best practices demonstrate that people with Down syndrome benefit greatly from interaction with peers in inclusive settings. Such settings provide enriching opportunities for people with Down syndrome, while promoting their acceptance by the general community.
What is the Down Syndrome Advocacy Foundation?
DSAF is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome through advocacy and supporting inclusion within schools, communities, and the work place. A lack of consistency exists in the application of best practices for early intervention, education, and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome in our communities, schools, and work environments. Many communities across the country provide individuals with Down syndrome access to the same educational, recreational, residential and employment opportunities available to those without Down syndrome. However, barriers still exist in some communities that prevent children, adolescents, and adults with Down syndrome from accessing the same opportunities as their typical peers.
DSAF believes that individuals with Down syndrome have the right to be respected as valued members of society with their own level of independence, self-determination, and sense of belonging in the community. This can best be achieved by being allowed full community involvement.
Our goals include:
• Advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome so they may have the same access to opportunities in community schools, recreational activities, and employment as their typical peers.
• Support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families in seeking inclusive opportunities.
• Community Acceptance and Responsibility toward individuals with Down syndrome.
How can DSAF help you realize inclusive goals?
The Foundation holds monthly meetings open to those interested in securing inclusive opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome. Through personal experiences and guest speakers, our meetings provide attendees with the information, strategies and support needed to obtain inclusive opportunities for their family member with Down syndrome.