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Highlighting our loved ones with Down syndrome in honor of World Down Syndrome Day 2012

Blair Williamson, “the Photographer”.

Blair has shared pictures with DSAOC in the past, and he sure has an eye for capturing the moment!

Photo submitted by Gail Williamson

DSAOC Celebrates WDSD by highlighting our families… SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO/STORY TODAY!

Don’t forget… SUBMIT your photo and brief story or word that best describes your loved one with Down syndrome, and it could appear here on our Blog and Facebook pages!

World Down Syndrome Day is this month – 3/21

SUBMIT YOUR CHILD’S PHOTO along with a word or phrase that best describes them and the love they bring to your life.  DSAOC will be posting photos/text to their blog/Facebook pages throughout March.  SUBMIT TODAY to:   info@dsaoc.org.

March 21, 2012 will mark the 7th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day, and for the first time this special day will be officially observed by the United Nations.  Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

Join DSAOC and other organizations as we celebrate the beauty that individuals with Down syndrome bring to our homes, communities and the world.

Down Syndrome International has created a website especially for World Down Syndrome Day 2012 that includes stories, pictures and even a countdown clock to 3/21/12:    https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/

Dean-o turns 60!

Dean Harrison was born and raised in the Seattle, WA area.  He is the Uncle of one of our wonderful volunteers.

This past January Dean celebrated his 60th birthday with 200 of his closest friends and family.

Dean is a lover of all Washington sports especially the Seattle Seahawks;  his party was Seahawks themed.  The Seahawks mascot “Blitz” made a special appearance at the party where he posed for some pictures and danced with the party goers.

The smile on Dean’s face got bigger and bigger every time he opened a new present; Seahawks apparel, hats, accessories, etc.

Happy Birthday Dean!  Party on…

Another great article highlighting the Surf’s Up event…

Standing up for Down syndrome

It was a beautiful day in Huntington Beach during last Friday’s “Surf’s Up” event.

Check out Steve Virgin’s article, and all the great photos captured during this special day.

Standing up for Down syndrome article/photos

Individuals with Down syndrome learn to surf at the Surf’s Up event in Huntington Beach

Last Friday 2/3, Team Up for Down Syndrome and the International Surfing Museum hosted “Surf’s Up for Down Syndrome“, an event that brought in professional surfers that escorted participating individuals with Down syndrome into the Huntington Beach surf and showed them how to ride the waves.

The after-party was held at Sandy’s Beach Grill, where more professional athletes and special guests greeted supporters.

DSAOC was proud to be a recognized sponsor of this event, and was thrilled to see our Orange County families featured in the OC Register article.

Read the article and view the slideshow

Stories from the Hearts of our Families

DSAOC is very happy to share a story from one of our families about their son’s wonderful experience as he recently visited educators from his early childhood.

These educators obviously had a positive impact on Ben.  And it looks like Ben had an even more positive impact on them.

“Ben’s Visit to his Elementary School”

Ben Golden, now a Senior at Mission Viejo High School, had a free afternoon and wanted to return to his Elementary School to visit his teachers.
His First Grade teacher, Mrs. Simi, still teaches first grade.  She invited him to read a story to the class.  She had found a photo of herself with Ben from first grade, and had it on the overhead projector when Ben arrived.
Then, in came his former Instructional Assistant, Miss Robin, and also another teacher, Mrs. Hammond, who fondly remembered Ben.
After school, Ben visited his 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Giguere, who now teaches 6th grade.
WOW!  What an afternoon!  It was such a confidence booster for Ben, and a wonderful memory for all to share.
By:  Kristi, Ben’s mom

Congratulations Kristin and Jon!

DSAOC Staff Member, Kristin Abbas, and her husband Jon welcomed their beautiful baby son, Micah, to the world on December 20, 2011.

Congratulations to you both!

Two women with Down syndrome finish Rose Bowl Half Marathon

Read story and watch video

One Year Down This Path – A Fathers Perspective On Down Syndrome

You will definitely want to take a few minutes from your day to watch this incredible video – from a Dad’s perspective.


Youtube link

Target and Nordstrom speak volumes…by saying nothing…

For parents of children with Down syndrome, a new model by the name of Ryan may have already caught your eye.

Target and Nordstrom have placed Ryan in some of their ads, but haven’t made a big deal out of it.  They show him alongside his typical peers, all looking absolutely adorable!

Check out the story on this blog, and you can also see comments on other blogs by following links in this story.

Model with Down syndrome

A sibling remains motivated through tough times by his younger brother

A nice story from a siblings perspective.  Happy New Year!

Vanderbilt running back stays motivated

Stacy’s little brother helps him keep focused on positive aspects of life

Read story

Baseball fan or not, you’ll enjoy this touching family story…

The Orange County Down syndrome community is buzzing with the news that Albert Pujols has signed a 10-year deal with the Angels.

We at DSAOC want to be among the first to welcome Albert and his family, wife Deidre and daughter Isabella, to Orange County.  Our admiration grew for Albert when 60 Minutes did this story earlier this year, highlighting not only Albert’s baseball career, but his incredible humanitarian spirit.

Albert’s step-daughter, Isabella, is the reason the talented athlete got involved with Down syndrome.  He met her mom, Deidre, when Isabella was an infant.  Just 18 at the time and newly emigrated to the U.S. from his native Dominican Republic, Albert is quoted as saying he never hesitated to love both Deidre and Isabella.

Since making the big leagues, Albert has been an involved and committed philanthropist, both at home in the Dominican Republic, and in St. Louis, where he, Deidre and Isabella have lived for the past 10 years.

Please join DSAOC in welcoming Isabella, Deidre and Albert to Orange County!


Woodbine House Holiday Sale!

Save 20% on over eighty-five books and DVDs on developmental disabilities from now through the end of December 2011 at


DSAOC’s “Breakfast with Santa”

Don’t miss this annual holiday family favorite!

Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at CHOC Children’s Wade Education Center in Orange.

Enjoy festive decor, holiday music, food, friends and of course SANTA! Guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.

This event is especially for families who have children with Down syndrome up to age 12.  All are welcome!

Recommended donation per adult: $5

Need a map?  Visit the DSAOC Website calendar

Pre-natal Testing…

An author asks, “What is the value of a life? What can a person with a disability contribute to humanity? Which disabilities are tolerable and which are not?

There are lots and lots of articles being published these days surrounding pre-natal testing, now that Sequenom released their test that specifically checks for Down syndrome in an unborn child.

Here is an article recommended by some constituents:

Are Kids With Down Syndrome on the Road to Extinction?

The ABLE Act of 2011 has been introduced – Opportunities to learn about it and take action

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) of 2011 was introduced on Tuesday as S. 1872 in the Senate and H.R. 3423 in the House.

The ABLE Act will give individuals with disabilities and their families the ability to save for their child’s future just like every other American family, and help people with disabilities live full, productive lives in their communities without losing benefits provided through private insurances, the Medicaid program, the supplemental security income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources. The account could fund a variety of essential expenses for individuals, including medical and dental care, education, community based supports, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation.

Below is information on how you can TAKE ACTION to help ensure your senator/representative is on board.

Additionally, be sure to register for the NDSS Webinar that will discuss everything you need to know about the ABLE Act.

Presenters include:

  • John Ariale, Chief of Staff, Representative Ander Crenshaw (R-Florida)
  • Jennifer Debes, Legislative Assistant, Representative Ander Crenshaw (R-Florida)
  • Steve Beck, Parent; Board Member, National Down Syndrome Society; Board Member, Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia
  • Madeleine Will, Director, National Down Syndrome Society
  • Sara Weir, Senior Policy Advisory,  National Down Syndrome Society
  • Lasty, watch the video from Lauren Potter (Glee star with Down syndrome) to hear what the ABLE Act means to her.


    NDSS Webinar regarding the ABLE Act

    Lauren Potter talks about the ABLE Act

    DSAOC’s Orange County Buddy Walk is IN THE NEWS!

    All families and supporters who attended this year’s Buddy Walk know first hand how wet and cold it was.

    We once again extend our sincere appreciation to all of you who rode out the weather with us and enjoyed an exciting and somewhat sunny afternoon.

    DSAOC is thrilled to have our Orange County Buddy Walk story on the National Down Syndrome Society’s National Buddy Walk Blog.

    Irvine Unified School District also placed a story on their website, thanks to one of our parents who promoted their involvement in our event.

    We also can’t forget the story and photo gallery from the Orange County Register!

    I’m pleased to share with you the links below:

    NDSS Buddy Walk Blog

    IUSD Newsflash

    Orange County Register story and photo gallery

    2011 Orange County Buddy Walk – an AMAZING day!

    DSAOC Thanks YOU!

    Rain didn’t dampen our spirits, or make us forget why we were together on Sunday.

    On Sunday, November 6, DSAOC had 45 exhibitors and more than 2,300 people in attendance at the 11th Annual Orange County Buddy Walk.

    Rain drops began falling just after 7 a.m. and soon came the wind and chill.  At 9 a.m. when the gates opened and we expected to see much fewer numbers, families and supporters arrived with their arsenal of rain gear.

    Families added extra tarps to the sides of their tents to protect their team members from the weather, exhibitors served coffee and hot chocolate, and people huddled together to stay warm.

    Around 10 a.m., when the rain and wind seemed at its worse, people showed their best.  Strangers, linked together by the commonality of having a loved one with Down syndrome, pulled their team tents together for extra warmth, and also invited those without tents to join with them.

    As if Mother Nature had our schedule, just before our Walk was due to start around 11 a.m., the rain stopped and the clouds parted!  More than 2,000 people that hung in there with us when the weather got rough, got to enjoy our live entertainment, including a beautiful stage performance by the Buena Park Hi-Tops, animal and reptile presentations by the Southern California Herpetology Association and The Wildlife Company, and our fabulous live band, The Vince, Bob & Buddy Band.

    DJ Willpower kept the tunes going throughout the day, no matter what the weather was like.  He had a constant dancing audience of our teens and adults with Down syndrome, as well as others who wouldn’t let the rain stop their desire to move to great tunes.

    Grand Marshall, Rex Hudler, thanked our families and supporters for hanging in there with us, and then got to work recognizing our Top teams and fundraisers.  Almost on schedule, our 11th Annual Buddy Walk commenced with happy faces and warmth that glowed from the inside out.

    Thank you to all who participated and supported this event, and the mission’s of the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County and the National Down Syndrome Society.

    Check out the photos and story from the  Orange County Register!

    DSAOC’s photo gallery is LIVE! Our two fabulous volunteer photographers, Alan Madden and Terrie Tavis, have once again captured great memories from our Buddy Walk.

    Alan Madden Photography

    Terrie Tavis Photography

    Dr. De Bord’s “Oral Health and Down Syndrome” Webinar Hosted by NDSS

    Monday, November 14 at 9 a.m. PST

    This is an encore presentation from August of this year that describes oral characteristics that are common in people with Down syndrome, ways to prevent dental disease, and tips for finding a dentist and having a successful dental visit.  There will be a short Q&A opportunity at the end of the presentation.

    Jessica De Bord is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. Dr. De Bord is the oral health faculty for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She earned her BA from San Diego State University and her DDS from the UCLA School of Dentistry. Dr. De Bord completed her residency training in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington (UW) and Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident. During her residency she completed a Certificate in Maternal and Child Health through the UW School of Public Health, an MS in Dentistry, and an MA in Bioethics and Humanities.

    Dr. De Bord’s primary clinical and research interests are the oral health of children with developmental disabilities and ethics. She serves on the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Committee on Special Needs, is a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the National Down Syndrome Society, serves on the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Ethics Resource Committee, and is a board member of the Academy of Dentistry for People with Disabilities. She is a member of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the American Society of Dental Ethics.

    Slides from the presentation will be posted to www.ndss.org. During the webinar there will be time for Q and A.

    Please feel free to share this webinar and the login information with anyone you feel may be interested in the presentation.

    Register to join!