Supporting Children with Down Syndrome and their Families
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Kidspace is participating by celebrating the unique abilities of kids with Down syndrome and advocating for the families and organization who love and support them.
We were honored to sponsor the September gathering for the Inland Valley Down Syndrome Association (IVDSA) at Kidspace. Their mission is to connect and inspire individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the communities in which they live, through support, education, social experiences, and advocacy. They offer age-based support groups for the whole family.
We welcomed families in the IVDSA network from the Little Steps (age 0-3) and Next Steps (age 4-7) groups to enjoy a day at the museum. These monthly outings give families a chance to connect, play, build friendships, share experiences, and make lasting memories with other families who have children with Down syndrome. Kidspace was delighted to create a space for meaningful connections, learning, and fun.
“We are so grateful to have Kidspace as our meeting sponsor for September,” said Stephanie Burton coordinator of the IVDSA Little Steps group. “The team was incredibly welcoming, generous, and supportive! Our families had nothing but the best experiences to share. The Muddy Boot Farm, the Arroyo Adventure, and Los Trompos were a few of our top favorite features this trip.”
Being a new parent is already a challenging and transformative experience, and when your child has Down syndrome, it can introduce additional complexities as well as emotional and physical challenges. Understanding and navigating the medical aspects of Down syndrome, such as potential health issues and therapies, can be overwhelming. Additionally, finding appropriate resources, support groups, and specialized education programs can be time-consuming and demanding.
“There are times on this journey where fear of the unknown is front and center. It could be fear of words or looks from people, fear of being judged, fear of being exhausted from the extra effort it may take to go out into the world,” said Burton. “Volunteering as the Little Steps leader for IVDSA, my goal has been to build our community and present our families with opportunities to explore fun places together.”
The IVDSA families celebrated Teddy Bear Day at the museum. They all brought special cuddly Teddy Bears and read the book Going on a Bear Hunt. More than 60 people from the IVDSA network enjoyed a day of play at Kidspace exploring, learning, and making memories together.
Families of children with disabilities deserve to feel welcome to explore, learn, laugh, and make memories. Kidspace is committed be being an inclusive organization and strives to grow to continue to provide opportunities for all children to thrive.