Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top 12 Reasons You Should Participate In Your Local Down Syndrome Group

I have often heard people say "I went to a playgroup, but I just didn't get anything out of it" or "I don't know why I should take my 4 month old to our local DS group."  Personally I don't understand that.  We have a great local group in Cincinnati in the DSAGC (Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati)  and last year three friends of mine have restarted a neighborhood group on the Eastside of Cincinnati.  I'm so glad we did.

We didn't have any set course of action - we've just been doing what feels right to us, and planning activites that we enjoy.  We have playgroup, which is kids birth - 5ish, and a Buddy Club that is kids 6-12.  Some activites the whole group does together, some are geared more toward the bigger kids, some the little ones.  We also have mom's night out every month.  We get between 4 and 12 moms every month. Doesn't matter if you can come once or every month - everyone is welcome.  Our activities have ranged from the Museum, to the pumpkin patch, to movie night with the mom's to watch Monica and David, to going to Granny's Garden.  Some months we have great turn out some just a few. But all of them have been fun.

I love our group today.  We know each other, we have a great time, we have birthday parties together, and socialize outside the formal group events.  It is a blast!

So why do I think it is important for our family to participate in our local DS group, and why do I think you might want to as well?  Here are my top reasons for getting involved today!
  1. Meet people who have children older than your's and get a glimse into what is to come
  2. Support people who are new to the Down syndrome community
  3. Have fun - our group isn't like a typical "support group" - we have a good time, laugh and socialize
  4. Give your child with Down syndrome peers who also have Down syndrome
  5. Give your "typical" kids the chance to interact with children their own age with Down syndrome so they can experience "more alike than different" first hand
  6. Give your child with Down syndrome the chance to play with the "typical" siblings their age
  7. Network about Early Intervention in your area
  8. Network about the medical community in your area
  9. Network about IEPs and schools
  10. Learn about programs and opportunities in your area
  11. Become more confident in your ability to successfully parent your child with Down syndrome
  12. Make lifelong friends who you will know and trust in 18 years to come up with innovative housing and social activities for your child
If you don't have a group right now, consider starting one.  If you don't like your group right now, see if you can change it, or do your own thing with a smaller group.  I know I'm glad I did!