The Association consists of approximately six hundred members from the Gauteng, Northern Province, Mpumalanga, Free State and North West Provinces. 300 members are families of children with Down syndrome and 300 professionals working with persons with Down syndrome.
Office & Resource Centre The Association
owns a centre where a well-stocked resource centre of books, videos, cassettes and magazines are based. The most important channel of communication is our magazine, the DS Bulletin and our website through which recent research information is distributed to a variety of stakeholders in the field of disability. We know that it keeps members up to date with international trends in the field of Down syndrome.
This organisation has trained support parents who visit the parents of newborn babies with Down syndrome in the hospital and at home in order to provide information and the necessary emotional support. At the moment, the birth rate of children with Down syndrome is one in every 700 babies. Our support service extends to Gauteng, North-West Province, Mpumalanga, Northern Province and Free State.
It has been shown that with the necessary stimulation, children with Down syndrome make wonderful progress and can even go to mainstream schools. Early Intervention helps children to reach their maximum potential and prepares the children for mainstream school. The Association refers families to the nearest therapists.
The Association can provide a service to parents and children who are already incorporated in the mainstream of education or who find it difficult to enrol their children with special educational needs into ordinary schools. Facilitators visit the schools on request, and twice a year a teacher-training workshop is presented. Many of the children in the Pretoria branch are currently attending mainstream schools.
Weekly parent guidance and Early Intervention programmes are presented in Garankuwa, Valhalla Primary School, and at the offices of the Down Syndrome Association. Children with Down syndrome (0-11 years), and children who are developmentally challenged are accommodated in this programme. Counsellors and therapists are available on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Services are for free.
Jeans & Tekkies Teenage Club
We started a social club for our teenagers and young adults with Down syndrome (16 years and older). Every second month we organise a sokkie/disco night for them. Annually we also have a teenage camp for our young adults. The ultimate goal of this club is to facilitate the process through which adults and teenagers with Down syndrome can reach a level of social independence that could facilitate their inclusion into the open labour market.
The Association assists with placing young people in the open labour market. The worldwide trend is to try and include people with a disability into everyday life. Young adults with Down syndrome can be integrated into the open labour market. The main goal is to support all persons with Down syndrome and people with other disabilities to work and contri- bute to the economy of South Africa
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