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UPDATE - * 2021 Buddy Walk will be a drive-through event only *
September 14, 2021 - After careful consideration, we have made the decision to make changes to how we are celebrating the Buddy Walk this year. The health and well-being of our community is our primary focus. As we have watched the number of COVID cases rise in our area, we do not feel that it is safe to gather in large numbers -- especially with our at-risk community, many of whom are not able to be vaccinated yet.We know it is disappointing because we are all ready to see each other in person and celebrate again. However, know that during this time, we must remain vigilant and most of all - flexible.
While we are not going to gather as a large group, we are still planning to celebrate. Please plan to come to the KSU campus on October 2 for a drive through Buddy Walk. You can decorate your car and we will have special guests and celebrations and you can pick up your team shirts there. And then, you can go back and celebrate with your friends and family in a safe and socially distanced way!
Thank you for your participation in our Buddy Walk. Your donations and fundraising make it possible for us to provide programming, education, advocacy and resources for our Down Syndrome Community. Whether we are gathered together in a group or celebrating independently, your funds are essential to helping prepare people with Down Syndrome for a world that is ready for them.
Stay tuned in the coming days for more information on our updated plans. If you have questions, please submit them to [email protected] or on Facebook and we will make sure we answer them for you in the coming days. We look forward to seeing you on October 2! If you haven’t registered, you can do so here.
DSAA, Gigi's Playhouse - Atlanta, and NDSC Condemn Statement Made by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)
January 29, 2021, Roswell, GA – The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta, Gigi's Playhouse Atlanta, and the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) strongly disagree with the decision of House Republicans to appoint Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to the House Education and Labor Committee due to her history of conspiracy theories around school shootings and use of the word "retard” as a pejorative term. "The Down syndrome and disabilities communities are concerned that
Rep. Greene's verbiage will distract from the committee's work and that her words truly reflect outdated, damaging beliefs that will negatively impact students with intellectual developmental disabilities (I/DD) for years to come," states Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta Executive Director, Sheryl Arno.
Recently a video that Rep. Greene posted prior to taking office has resurfaced on social media platforms. In her video, Rep. Greene, when speaking of other elected officials, says, "Stupid simple – Retards; I'm sorry, I know that is an offensive word. I am not trying to talk down on people with Down syndrome, but that's what these people are. These people are so stupid and ignorant that they cannot put something common sense in place."
Rep. Greene's statements are particularly damaging to individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual or developmental disabilities as they are more likely to be victims of bullying. Her words promote a culture of casual cruelty toward people with disabilities. NDSC Executive Director David Tolleson said, "Men, women, and children with Down syndrome should never be used as a punch line to make points in a political debate." He continued, "They are people who deserve respect and dignity. Rep. Greene's comments send a message to students, parents, and educators that she believes people with disabilities are not capable of decision-making. Her words and beliefs are a slap in the face to people with disabilities and we do not support her appointment to the Education and Labor Committee."
Click here for a downloadable version of the above statement.
About Gigi's Playhouse Atlanta
GiGi's Playhouse Atlanta is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free therapeutic
programming, resources, and support to families of individuals with T21/ Trisomy 21/Down syndrome.
Programs at GiGi's Playhouse Atlanta address the developmental needs of children with T21/Down
syndrome, including the areas of gross motor, fine motor, intellectual, social, and communication
development. For more information about Gigi's Playhouse Atlanta, please visit our website at
About the National Down Syndrome Congress
Founded in 1973, the National Down Syndrome Congress is the country's oldest organization for people
with Down syndrome, their families, and the professionals who work with them. A 501(c)(3) non-profit
advocacy organization, the NDSC provides support and information about issues related to Down
syndrome throughout the lifespan, as well as on matters of public policy relating to disability rights. The
National Down Syndrome Congress is committed to creating a national climate in which all people will
recognize and embrace the value and dignity of people with Down syndrome. For more information
about the NDSC, please visit our website at www.ndsccenter.org.
About Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta
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. 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. Website: www.dsaatl.org.
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 [email protected].
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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!
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 downloadable Fact Sheet
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Fun OT Activities To Do While At Home
- Sparkle Bottle
- Supplies Needed
- Empty water bottle
- Clear Elmer’s glue
- Room temperature water
- Regular glitter
- Hot glue gun
- Food coloring
- 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)
- 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
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:
- Sparkle Bottle