Annual Update from Sheryl Arno, Executive Director

I have had a very busy year! I attended the national conference for The Down Syndrome’s Affiliates in Action. It was a great opportunity to learn what’s going on with other Down Syndrome Associations around the country. Atlanta has a lot to offer but even more to move towards. These are exciting times for the DSAA.

I have had heart warming opportunities to meet families of newborn babies, and families that are walking side by side with their loved ones going through surgery. I’ve had the chance to show families of kids age 15+ their options for the future. I also started a small group for self-advocates to train them on attending their own IEP’s. Lastly, I had the honor to assist families in open discussions about making end of life choices. This has all been very meaningful to me. 

We kept our community connection strong this summer as our D.A.D.S group continued to meet, we hosted monthly Mom's Night Out at GiGi's Playhouse, focusing on education and what to expect through transition to elementary school. Our networking groups also held mom's night out and play date outings. 

I continue to represent the DSAA on the Down Syndrome Consortium. We are working together and partnering on a number of opportunities for our community!  We will host our second annual “’learning summit” at KSU on October 19th. The plans are for an even more comprehensive experience for families! I also serve on the Inclusive Post Secondary Education Consortium where I am working to expand opportunities for students with Down syndrome in these programs.  

I share all of the behind the scenes work in order to create a full picture of the DSAA. As I talk with members of our community, I realize most people are unfamiliar with the day-to-day work and are more connected with our pillar events and programming: Buddy Walk, holiday party, summer social, new parent workshops, monthly DADS Group, Hispanic Group, community networking groups and social groups on Facebook. All of these together support the mission of the DSAA. 

Lastly, DSAA is deep into updating our “Strategic Plan”. We will be making big changes to the DSAA mission. Stay tuned and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Buddy Walk!