Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Suit: Papa John's illegally fired worker with Down syndrome

FARMINGTON — Back in September 2011, Scott Bonn started working for the pizza-delivery company Papa John’s folding boxes.
Bonn, who has Down syndrome, got help from the state to fulfill his duties with a job coach.
After a visit to the Farmington location by a Papa John’s operating partner in February 2012, the local franchise owners became aware of the situation and made a call to corporate human resources department.
As a result, Bonn was fired, an EEOC attorney says.
Now the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has stepped in with a lawsuit against Papa John’s both at the franchise and corporate level.
Representatives for Papa John’s did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
According to the EEOC, Papa John's discriminated against Bonn by failing to reasonably accommodate his Down syndrome and by terminating him because of his disability. Before he was fired, Bonn worked successfully with the assistance of an independently employed and insured job coach.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Watch David Hasselhoff Take A ‘Knight Rider’ Superfan With Down Syndrome For A Spin In KITT

by Danger Guerrero from UPROXX:
This is really cool. In a recent segment of the Dutch television program Syndroom (which, according to the translated version of its Facebook page, is dedicated to “helping people with Down syndrome, autistic disorders and other syndromes” fulfill “their ambitions, dreams and fantasies”), David Hasselhoff took a Dutch Knight Rider superfan named Twan out for a spin around Beverly Hills in KITT. Here’s the YouTube description of the video, translated from Dutch to English.
It is a very special day for Twan: he met David Hasselhoff. He even get a thick hug of this American superstar and may take a ride with David in the KITT.
And sure enough, off they go. They even have it set up so KITT gives Twan a personalized message before they all pull away, which apparently means they got 87-year-old William Daniels — Mr. Feeny himself — to reprise his role as the voice of the car. Everyone appeared to have a really great time, especially Hasselhoff, who took great pleasure in freaking out some people on the freeway.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What a Welcome! Quantas airline staff treat Glee's Lauren Potter to a surprise serenade in the style of the show as she touches down in Australia

Glee fans, or ‘Gleeks’ as they are fondly known, are used to being entertained by the singing and dancing numbers on the famous show - but on Wednesday the tables were turned on one of the series favourite actresses.
Lauren Potter, 24, who plays Becky Jackson the Cheerios co-captain, landed Down Under on her Qantas flight, she was treated to a very special performance by singers in Qantas air steward outfits.
The pint-sized star, who is currently in Australia to support and co-host e.motion21's Annual Dance Spectacular in Camberwell on Sunday, looked overwhelmed, happy and touched by the surprise serenade.
Scroll down for video 
Shocked: Glee star Lauren Potter couldn't believe her eyes as two Qantas stewards sung Vanessa Amorosi's hit song, Absolutely Everybody as they welcomed her to Australia on Wednesday
Shocked: Glee star Lauren Potter couldn't believe her eyes as two Qantas stewards sung Vanessa Amorosi's hit song, Absolutely Everybody as they welcomed her to Australia on Wednesday
Overwhelmed: It is usually Lauren who is doing the entertaining but on this occasion she enjoyed being performed for by singers in Qantas uniforms
Overwhelmed: It is usually Lauren who is doing the entertaining but on this occasion she enjoyed being performed for by singers in Qantas uniforms

Monday, September 22, 2014

NASCAR joins Down syndrome research efforts

by Maureen Wallace from SpecialEDPost.org:
Long ago, I shifted from fear to acceptance when it comes to my 4-year-old son Charlie’s extra chromosome. I love every bit of him, including his DNA.
But what’s not acceptable is that Charlie has a greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease because he has Down syndrome.
NASCAR driver David Ragan loves to drive fast and wants to win whatever race he can. It made perfect sense when the LuMind Foundation asked Ragan to chair its first annual fundraiser, the Race for Research: Accelerating Down Syndrome Cognition, which took place this summer.
The link?
David’s older brother, Adam, has Down syndrome.
That means we share a sense of urgency to fund research to help our loved ones. We also share a building outrage that research progress is stalled because of a lack of funding.
You see, if research doesn’t progress quickly enough, it’s possible Charlie and I will develop Alzheimer’s disease at the same time, because people with Down syndrome can develop the condition as young as 40 years old. (I’ll be 77.) Adam could begin to show symptoms in as few as 10 more years.
The entire Ragan family — with a history of racing success — became involved in the 2014 Race for Research, and their determination gave me hope. Because my Charlie has two younger siblings, David’s perspective of his brother also has been reassuring.
“Adam is just a normal older brother,” David says. “My parents didn’t really teach or tell me anything about Adam’s capabilities. They just always treated him the same as me.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Students fight against use of offensive slang

by Savanah Dickinson from The Daily Reveille: 
“Spread the Word to End the Word” encourages people to think before they say the “r-word,” and some at the University are pushing the national campaign on campus.
Youth with and without intellectual disabilities established the “Spread the Word to End the Word” movement at the 2009 Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit. Since then, the movement has spread to universities nationwide.
Deanna Rice, University doctoral candidate and event coordinator for the University’s branch of the campaign, said the movement hopes to eliminate the word “retarded” and replace it with respect.
“This is hurtful to people with intellectual disabilities and other developmental delays,” Rice said. “It not only hurts them but the family members who love them and also people like me that work with them in education and other support in the community.”
Graduate student Catherine Hauth presented a bill before Student Government Senate on Sept. 3 for “Spread the Word to End the Word.” Hauth encouraged each senator to take the pledge and pass along the message.
The bill passed unanimously. Rice encourages students to take the pledge to stop using the “r-word” at www.r-word.org. The movement also utilizes social media — @EndtheWordLSU on Twitter — to reach more students.
In March, “Spread the Word to End the Word” will hold a table-sit outside the Student Union to spread awareness with the hope that more students will take the pledge.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Franklin sisters’ bond used to highlight Down Syndrome Awareness Month

by Cheryl Makin from My Central Jersey:
Caryn Croll is a determined woman. She has come up against many obstacles in her 27 years, but has always pushed through to reach her goals. With her feisty and “can do” nature, Croll, born with Down syndrome, achieved academic and athletic success as a high school graduate and Special Olympic gold medalist.
Now the Franklin Park resident has her sights set on increasing awareness, opportunities and research for those with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
“We are all in the same boat,” she said. “We need to spread the word.”
Her face on Times Square
To this end, Croll will be featured on Saturday as part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDSS) annual Times Square Video presentation. Croll’s photo helps highlight children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning alongside friends and family. The image of Croll was selected from more than 2,000 entries in the NDSS worldwide call for photos. More than 220 photographs will appear in the video. Croll’s photo shows her along with her “little sister” Michelle Croll, 23.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Saudi govt to bear cost of treating kids with autism and Down syndrome

by Saad Al-Qabousi from the Okaz/Saudi Gazette:
The Ministry of Social Affairs will bear the entire cost of treatment and rehabilitation of children with autism or Down syndrome at domestic care centers, an official source at the ministry has said.

The official, who did not want to be named, said in the past the ministry was bearing only half of the cost. He said: “There are about 6,000 children with severe disorders who are unable to benefit from education in the government or private schools.

“The ministry will pay the full cost of their rehabilitation in the special centers inside the Kingdom.”

The official made it clear that the ministry's offer will not include children who are taken for rehabilitation abroad.

“The ministry will bear the full cost of the rehabilitation of autistic and Down children in the day centers that are licensed,” he said.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

homecoming king will make you smile

from My Fox 9:
Blaine High School homecoming king Brock Shepard fits the stereotype -- a popular, three-sport athlete with an amazing smile. More than 2,000 students selected Shepard as their homecoming king not because he has Down syndrome, but “because of what he means to the school in spite of it,” the school said.
“Everyone loves him,” homecoming queen Britney Monteon said. “He means a lot to the school. He's amazing.”
Shepard is known for his “infectious” personality at BHS. He's the manager of the Bengals wrestling and plays on the school's adapted floor hockey, bowling and soccer teams.

Congratulations Brock! Watch his coronation at http://youtu.be/nWZML9g52X4

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thank Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin for Their Support of the ABLE Act!

To Down Syndrome Advocates from the NDSS:

We are closer than ever to the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647/S.313) being brought to the House floor for a vote. We need your help in thanking Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Ranking Member Sandy Levin (D-MI) of the House Ways and Means Committee!

We need your help! Please call and thank Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin for their support! Call-in script provided below.

Chairman Dave Camp: (202) 225-3561
Ranking Member Sandy Levin: (202) 225-4961

TALKING points

-I'm calling to thank Chairman Camp/Ranking Member Levin for all his efforts to reach a bipartisan solution and encourage you to do EVERYTHING he can to pass the ABLE Act (H.R. 647/S. 313) before Congress adjourns next week!

-The ABLE Act is the most bipartisan bill in this Congress right now - 80% of the entire Congress supports it. There are 74 Senators and 380 Representatives cosponsoring the bill.

-Your boss is a tremendous champion for all people with disabilities and the ABLE Act will make a HUGE difference in the lives of the disability community! Thank you!

Thank you for helping us #passtheABLEact; and as Sara Wolff said in her testimony, this year!

Best Regards,

Ginny Sessions
NDSS, Manager Grassroots and Development Programming

Schwarzenegger congratulated by former staff

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets a hug from John Masterson, 28, who has Down syndrome, after he unveiled his official portrait at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. The photograph-like giant image of the Republican governor was made by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein and will hang on the third floor of the Capitol. Masterson worked in the mail room when Schwarzenegger’s was in office and continues to work there today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge takes ugly twist

from Ken Amaro from First Coast News:
This summer the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral and now the ugly side of an ice bucket challenge is spreading on social media.
"I can't even look at it," said Leslie Weed, the parent of an autistic child and founder of The HEAL Foundation, which stands for Healing Every Autistic Life.
"There is an explosion of bullying among disabled children," she said.
It happened in Bay Village, Ohio. A 15-year-old autistic boy who was lured into taking the ice bucket challenge got a bucket full of urine, feces and spit dumped on him.
" (It is) very disturbing," said Weed. "This young man didn't even tell his mother she discovered it on his cellphone."
Weed said what parents and advocates for the disabled have come to realize is, traumatic events like this have long-term effects.
"Their sleep patterns are disturbed, their anxiety levels really rise, their behavior tend to get worse and worse," she said.
The outrage on social media is loud and clear.

Monday, September 8, 2014

10 Things my Child with Down Syndrome has Taught Me

by Bleigh Ahl Garcia from News of Salem County:
It has been 1 year since Tristan was born, and 360 days since I received he news that he has Down Syndrome. As I sit here in amazement at the whirlwind of a year we have had with Tristan in our lives, I just wanted to share a few things I have graciously learned so far in this journey.
1. Always try to look at people through God’s eyes…. if you look with your own eyes, you might miss something.
Having Tristan has taught me to see people for who they really are. I’ve always thought I was pretty good at this because of how I was raised, but I have to admit that I was giving myself way too much credit. After having a child with Down Syndrome, God has softened my heart so much and has given me more compassion for all types of people. I didn’t realize how much I needed it. I no longer am fearful of or uncomfortable around people with developmental disabilities or brain injuries. That fear came from a place of ignorance and misunderstanding. Tristan may have different needs and need a little more attention and care, but raising him as been just as “normal” as raising our son without Down Syndrome. He is a child who needs to eat, sleep, poop and be changed. He smiles when he’s happy, and he cries when he’s not. He has feelings. He has a spirit. His life is precious, and he has a specific purpose and calling. Most of all, he is loved by a God who doesn’t make mistakes. When God looks at him, He is overwhelmed with love. That’s how He sees all of us. My prayer is that I have the ability to look at people and see the value of their spirit first, rather than their disabilities and outward appearance.
2. Celebrate the Small Victories.
I’ve come to realize that every effort that Tristan makes to make a sound or move on his own is a HUGE accomplishment. Have you crawled recently? Like, literally gotten on the floor and army crawled on your belly? Well if you haven’t, just trust me….it hurts. For a child with a developmental delay, a heart defect, low muscle tone, vision problems, and breathing problems… crawling 2 yards is like running a marathon. That is something that most of us ‘normal’ and healty adults would complain about on a daily basis without realizing it. So, we will celebrate every single “milestone” whenever it happens, even if it is 2 years later. Though some victories may seem small to others, they are huge to Tristan….and that’s worth celebrating.
3. Slow Down & Enjoy the Ride.
I have to admit, although we have our struggles, my husband and I could win an olympic medal at getting things done on a schedule. More specifically, healthy meal planning while on the go for a family of four. We

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Here is a great resource to share with your child's teachers

by KidsHealth.org from Nemours:

What Teachers Should Know About Down Syndrome 

Down syndrome (DS), also called Trisomy 21, is a chromosomal condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically. It affects about 1 in every 800 babies born in the United States.
Kids and teens with Down syndrome tend to share certain physical features such as a flat facial profile, an upward slant to the eyes, small ears, and a protruding tongue. They tend to grow at a slower rate and remain shorter than their peers.
Cognitively, DS can affect learning abilities in different ways, but most kids and teens with DS have mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Children with Down syndrome have delays in speech and motor skills, and may need assistance with self-care, such as dressing and grooming.
Medical problems associated with DS can vary widely from child to child. While some kids and teens with DS need a lot of medical attention, others lead healthy lives. People born with Down syndrome are at risk for:
  • congenital heart disease
  • vision and hearing problems
  • thyroid problems
  • obesity
  • seizures
  • neck problems
Students with Down syndrome may:
  • need to go to school nurse for medications when necessary
  • miss class time due to frequent medical appointments
  • have behavior issues
  • need visual and auditory accommodations for classroom instruction
  • require physical, occupational, and speech therapies
  • need extra time and assistance with class work
  • require therapeutic staff support in the classroom

What Teachers Can Do

Students with Down syndrome can have a range of abilities, and there's no way to tell at birth what they will be capable of as they grow. Students with DS are capable of learning and developing new skills throughout their lives. They simply reach goals at a different pace. Remember to focus on the individual and learn firsthand about his or her capabilities and special needs.
Be aware of any medical concerns associated with Down syndrome that are specific to your student.
Students with Down syndrome are often enrolled in mainstream education systems and enjoy participating with peers in all kinds of classroom activities. Encourage physical fitness and involvement in all school activities, as well as extracurricular programs. Realize that you can make a big difference in your student's life. Learn the student's interests so you can create opportunities for the student to be successful in school.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Woman says school guard played racist prank on son with Down syndrome

From The Times Herald Record:
A black New York woman says a white school security guard forced her 12-year-old son with Down syndrome to pose for a photo in a way that made it look like the boy was being frisked.
Brandiss Pearson's complaint has led Syracuse school officials to suspend the guard.
Pearson tells The Post-Standard of Syracuse the racist prank happened on Tuesday, the first day of school.
Pearson says she and son Brandon stopped in a hallway to snap pictures. She says the guard turned Brandon to face the wall and lifted Brandon's hands above his head on the wall, as if to be frisked. She said the security guard was laughing and said: "Now take the picture. He's in the right position."
The employee is suspended while the district investigates.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Response to Richard Dawkins on Down Syndrome

by Chris Kaposy from Impact Ethics:
The famous Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins recently declared on twitter that it “would be immoral” to bring a baby with Down syndrome into the world if one has the option of selective abortion. His advice: “Abort it and try again”. Dawkins then explained that he “OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t TELL a woman what to do” (emphasis in original).
Later on his website, Dawkins clarified that he fully supports a woman’s right to choose whether to selectively abort for Down syndrome, but that his own choice would be to abort. He wrote, “Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort”. He called this “an apology”.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pronoun comprehension in individuals with Down syndrome: the role of age.




A number of studies have suggested that language in individuals with Down syndrome (DS) may not be simply delayed compared with language in typically developing (TD) children, but deviant. The deviance has been detected in the comprehension of pronouns, and it has triggered proposals for the existence of a specific syntactic deficit in individuals with DS. However, the developmental path of pronoun comprehension in individuals with DS is unknown as there are no studies examining individuals of different ages.


To perform a pilot study examining pronoun comprehension in adolescents and adults with DS in comparison with TD children. Research questions include: Are some pronoun types more difficult than others for each of the two groups (DS and TD)? Is there a difference in performance between the two groups? Does performance correlate with chronological age in the DS group?


Using a manual picture selection task, we examined the comprehension of different types of pronouns in 14 Greek-speaking individuals with DS, ranging from 10 to 34 years of age. We also tested a control group of TD children as well as a typical adult group. The TD and DS groups were recruited and tested in pre-schools and schools/centres for individuals with learning disabilities, respectively. Within- and between-group comparisons were performed for all conditions. For the DS group, correlations between chronological age and performance in each condition were also explored.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I’ll Take Mine with Down Syndrome, Please

This is not new.  Back in 2011, I wrote the blog post below in response to comments by a healthcare professional about aborting babies because they had Down syndrome. In July 2013, I wrote the blog “Taking Away the Down Syndrome” in response to the new research that says they may be able to shut down the extra chromosome.  It is my all time top blog in terms of readers. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel today though. I just want to post what I’ve already said. Rachel and others with Down syndrome are not afflicted. They are not broken. Research says that most people with Down syndrome are happy. Their siblings are happy. Their parents are happy. That doesn’t mean it is not hard. That doesn’t mean it isn’t exhausting. It is called living.
So here you go.
I’ll Take Her With Down Syndrome, Please
Reprinted from November 2011
This weekend we traveled to Little Rock to the Arkansas-Mississippi State football game. One of the highlights of fall for me is traveling to the Little Rock games where we spend a little time with my family and my sister, dad, Jonathan and I go to the games. It’s our tradition and I love it.  We ran into a good friend of ours, one we don’t see often but we have common ground way beyond football. She has invested 30 years of her life into children with disabilities. We have some great conversations.  She has a pure love for individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities. She has a true respect and a beautiful grasp of what all of it means.  She was sharing about a family (no names involved) she had just met who had a baby with Down syndrome.  Apparently some of the early tests showed a high risk for Down syndrome.  A nurse told them the sex of the baby followed with a comment that they might not want to know this because if the test confirmed the “baby was a Downs, they would want to abort.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Grandparents' grief over twin with Down syndrome who was given up for adoption - while her sister now attends top private school

A couple have told of their grief after their weeks-old grandchild, born with Downs Syndrome, was given up for adoption and separated from her twin sister.
The grandparents, who have chosen not to be identified, have described how the tiny baby was handed over to social services while the parents decided to keep the healthy twin.
Now seven, the girls live completely different lifestyles with one living overseas and attending an international private school and the other receiving state primary education and living with her new family in a terraced house in England.
The case has similarities to that of Gammy, a Down’s syndrome baby born to a Thai surrogate.
The child was at the centre of an international outcry after his Australian parents were accused of leaving him in Thailand with his surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, and taking home the healthy twin. 
The couple, David and Wendy Farnell later denied this was the case insisting that the Thai mother would not hand over Gammy and have said they want to get the seven-month-old baby back.