Safely Expanding Our World, 2020 Buddy Walk

2020 Buddy Walk is well underway and we have enjoyed seeing everyone's photos and videos. Teams have celebrated with walks in their neighborhood, at a park, having a pizza party, and hosting a virtual dance party. This year looks different than most but it hasn't been any less! 

As a friendly reminder, remember to wear a mask and keep socially distant if you are celebrating with more than your immediate family! 

Keep sending us your photos and videos to so we can see all the fun. Thank you to Jackson's Journey and Eli's Eagles for sharing!

Jackson's Journey   Eli's Eagle from Russia  


In Case You Missed It:

  • Nominate a Buddy for the 2020 Buddy Walk Awards: Parent Advocate, Community Advocate, Self-Advocate under 21, and Self-Advocate 21+
  • Virtual Celebration on Saturday, October 31st at 10:30 am. Stay tuned for more details!
  • Updates and contests take place on Facebook (@DSAAtlanta), Instagram (@dsaatl) and Twitter (@AtlantaDSAA)
  • Tag us and use hashtags:
    • #expandingourworld
    • #dsaabuddywalk2020
    • #dsaabw2020
    • #dsaavirtualbw2020
    • #dsaabuddywalk
    • #dsaavirtualbuddywalk



Sheryl Arno Sharing on YANA Podcast

Tune in tomorrow, October 3rd at 10:30am EST to the YANA Podcast and hear from DSAA's Executive Director, Sheryl Arno. YANA, You Are Never Alone, is the only podcast solely dedicated to the Special Needs Community whose mission is to educate, advocate, elevate and celebrate people with differing abilities by bringing them, their families, their caregivers, their supporters, and their communities frank conversations with experts throughout the Special Needs arena.

If you didn't know, Sheryl has been in the field of developmental disabilities 

Read more

  • Featured page


    Being part of a community with people like you is vital to creating a sense of belonging. That's why the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta holds and sponsors annual events on its own and in collaboration with organizations for our families and adult population. See below a list of events and click through to learn more:

    Atlanta Buddy Walk

    Family Holiday Party

    Adult Holiday Dance with the Marcus Jewish Community Center's Blonder Department for Special Needs

    Monthly Educational Sessions in Spanish with AHSDA (Asociación Hispana de Síndrome de Down en Atlanta)

    Monthly Moms Night Out

    Jerry's Habima Theatre 


    For a complete list and more information about any DSAA events, check our Calendar.

    Continue reading →
  • Featured page


    Buddy Walk 2020: Expanding Our World


    Given the uncertainty of our current environment and out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19, the DSAA board has decided to hold a Virtual Buddy Walk this October. We did not make this decision lightly as we know this is a very important event to so many of you – and it is the highlight of our year. Not only does it give us the opportunity to gather together and celebrate our community, but it is also a chance for us to raise much needed resources for the programs and services available to you and your loved ones.

    Two major factors went into our decision process. First and foremost, the health and safety of our community is our top priority! We do not feel that we can put all of our community and our supporters at risk by holding a large scale event. Second, our venue, Kennesaw State University (already booked for 2021!), is not currently holding events of this size and may not be at that time. 

    While we are disappointed we will not be seeing you in person in October, we are in the process of planning our “Virtual” Event. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information and details on how you can participate. There is still so much to celebrate in our community and we will not miss the chance to celebrate all of you! 

    *The Registration website for the walk is temporarily closed until we finalize all details. Check back soon for an update! 


    DSAA is looking for Volunteers! 

    If you are interested in helping the DSAA grow, we could use you! Volunteer opportunities include:

    • Serve on a Buddy Walk committee - Buddy Walk is our largest fundraiser of the year!
    • Help with fundraising
    • Participate in our First Call program and be a resource to families with a new diagnosis
    • Create new parent welcome kits
    • Help plan education seminars for parents
    • Help a community networking group plan programs in the community
    • Use your business skills to help with our database, outreach, mailings and more

    Got an idea? Let's here it! Contact Sheryl Arno at

    Continue reading →
  • Featured page

    About Us



    The mission of DSAA is to guide Atlanta’s Down syndrome community by connecting families and self-advocates to the partners, programs, education and resources they need to thrive.


    DSAA's vision is to equip and ready individuals with Down syndrome for a world that is ready for them! 

    Core Values

    Community, Commitment, Collaboration, Connection, Creativity, Celebration


    Founded by a small group of parents in 1979, The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta (DSAA) is a 501 (c)(3) Georgia non-profit organization dedicated to providing individuals with Down syndrome and their families life-long community connections.

    There was a need to provide support and information to families who had, or were expecting, babies with Down syndrome.  DSAA started working out of family's homes and having board meetings at kitchen tables across metro Atlanta.  In 1985, DSAA became a 501(c)(3) public charity.  Throughout the 1990’s, DSAA found itself growing in both numbers of families touched and in funding resources.  In 2008, we celebrated our 30th Anniversary at a Gala Banquet and Dance.  By 2008 DSAA was able to hire its first employees, an Executive Director and an Assistant Director.  

    Today, DSAA serves 800 families in 18 counties in the greater Metro-Atlanta area with its programs, services, resources, and activities for all age groups. It is the largest volunteer organization for those touched by Down syndrome in Georgia. DSAA is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA). 

    What DSAA Does

    • Coordinates year-round parent education programs
    • Convenes conferences and events for parents, educators, and healthcare providers
    • Organizes social gatherings and events for member families
    • Distributes current information about Down syndrome to OB/GYN practices, pediatricians and hospitals in metro Atlanta.
    • Provides information and activities for educators working with students who have Down syndrome.
    • Oversees a community-based parent networking program, currently comprised of 14 area groups.
    • Serves as an umbrella organization for the Atlanta chapter of Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.), which provides fellowship and support to fathers of children with Down syndrome.
    • Leads the Asociación Hispana de Sindrome de Down en Atlanta (AHSDA) - DSAA’s Hispanic outreach and support program, which serves over 250 families and is one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind in the country.
    • Advocates for issues affecting persons with Down syndrome locally and nationally.
    • Orchestrates an annual Buddy Walk® each October to raise awareness and financial support.

    Click here for a copy of our IRS Tax Exempt status. 

    Click here for our 990.

    Click here for the DSAA Terms of Use and Privacy Policies.

    Click here for downloadable Fact Sheet

    Continue reading →
  • Featured page

    OT Corner

    Fun OT Activities To Do While At Home 


    Hanging Laundry


    sparkle bottle

    Sensory Bottles 

    • Sparkle Bottle
      • Supplies Needed
      • Empty water bottle 
      • Clear Elmer’s glue 
      • Room temperature water 
      • Regular glitter 
      • Hot glue gun 
      • Food coloring 
      • Directions:
      • Fill bottle ¾ of the way with water
      • Add glue, the more glue the better 
      • Add the glitter
      • Squeeze a few drops of food coloring in the water
      • Super glue or hot glue lid to bottle 
    • Search + Find Bottle 
      • Supplies Needed:
      • Empty dry water bottle
      • Dry Rice
      • Small items (beads, erasers, pom poms, toy animals)
      • Directions:
      • Add rice to an empty water bottle 
      • Add small items 
      • Hot glue lid to bottle 
      • Have child search for the items you put in bottle by shaking the bottle 
      • Make a list of the items inside and have child check them off as they find them

        Connection to OT: Helps with sensory visual seeking behaviors, works on following directions, visual motor skills when looking for items in the bottle 



    Penne Pasta Play

    • Make a necklace or bracelet by stringing penne pasta on thin string/thread 
    • String Penne on chopsticks, twigs from outside 
    • Stick straws or pipe cleaners into Styrofoam block (from old packaging) or hold them and thread the pasta through 
    • Push penne pasta into play dough or putty 
    • Stick straws in putty and thread the pasta onto the straws 

      Connection to OT: Works on concentration, attention, focus, finger strengthening, eye-hand coordination, visual motor integration and fine motor skills 


    pipe cleaners

    Fun with Pipe Cleaners 

    • Cut straws and thread pipe cleaner through them 
    • Push pipe cleaners through strainer; can also attempt to thread the pipe cleaner through more than one hole 
    • Write a number on a cup and parent make holes on top of cup. Have kiddo push the pipe cleaners through the holes 
    • For older kids working on writing, make the alphabet out of pipe cleaners. Kids can trace the pipe cleaners for sensory feedback with finger and then write the letter with pencil 
    • For younger kids, work on making shapes out of the pipe cleaners and trace with finger (parents can also make the shape and have kids trace with finger)
    • Thread beads on a pipe cleaner; count the beads, create and follow a pattern and use pincer grasp to pick up small beads

      Connection to OT: fine motor skills, pincer grasp, visual motor integration, attention and focus, eye hand coordination, counting, handwriting, following directions 


    More fun activities! Get creative with the ideas below: 

     ot ideas

    Continue reading →