Our News & Updates
Board of Directors Application
DSACO is now accepting applications for the Board of Directors! Board members serve 3-year terms, starting July 1, 2021. If you love DSACO and want to become more involved in DSACO decisions, please consider applying!
Applications due by April 1st
For questions or to submit your application, please email [email protected] Applications will also be accepted by mail at the DSACO Office, 521 W. Wilshire Blvd., STE 130, Oklahoma City, OK 73116.
International Guidelines for the Education of Learners with Down Syndrome
- have been written by educational professionals and experts in the field with input from our global network of members and stakeholders to ensure their global relevance and value;
- provide best-practice guidance for learners, teachers and managers in pre-school, school and post-school education settings to promote life-long learning;
- are an important starting point in enabling people with Down syndrome to receive the educational support needed to achieve their full potential and
- will provide a global reference point and a lobbying tool for education professionals, learners, families and supporters, commissioners of services, national Down syndrome organizations, managers and charities to encourage adoption of best practice in their countries.
CALLING ALL MODELS!
Join us for our very first 2021 DSACO Fashion Show Fundraiser, hosted by Edmond North Highschool! We are looking for male and female models with Down syndrome who are ready to TAKE THE STAGE and be the star of the show on February 4th from 6-8 p.m. Invite your friends and family to come watch you SHINE as you strut down the runway alongside new friends! Every model will be accompanied by an Edmond North student/ model as they take turns walking down the runway. What better way to raise money for DSACO than by highlighting YOU! This will be an evening of fun, excitement and awareness that you won’t want to miss!
Requirements: Must be ages 13+, must be available Feb. 4th, must be comfortable with a new environment, loud music, taking pictures and posing, and maintaining a positive attitude! All models must be accompanied by a chaperone during the duration of the event and will be given one complimentary general admission ticket.
Additional details: Outfits will be provided. A fitting and rehearsal will take place a week before the show to ensure that the event is seamless.
COVID-19 Precautions: The fashion show will strategically take place in the Edmond North auditorium, where the audience will be over 6 feet away from the stage. The audience will be asked to wear masks for the duration of the event. The audience will be socially distanced from the models AT ALL TIMES. The only time mask-wearing will not be enforced will be when they are walking down the runway. Temperature checks will be given at the door and we will be sure to encourage social distancing at all times. The only person who will have direct contact with the model will be their Edmond North “buddy” and the DSACO staff. We will ask that all staff members and “buddies” take all necessary COVID-19 precautions the two weeks leading up to the show and they will sign a waiver ensuring that they have not been exposed to a person(s) with COVID-19 in the last two weeks and have not shown symptoms prior to the show.
Tax Information and Donations
Thank you for your continued support of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma. Our mission is “to raise awareness and provide resources, as well as promote acceptance and inclusion for people with Down syndrome.” The organization’s programs include workshops for families, educators, and self-advocates; new parent visitation and support; parent to parent meetings; D.A.D.S group; free tutoring services; microwave-based cooking classes for teens and adults as well as many other awareness components and resources. These services are vital to the community because they educate a wide variety of individuals about the needs of individuals with Down syndrome.
For your 2020 tax documentation filing, listed below is important information about the contribution documentation process and how to make future contributions.
The Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma (DSACO) is a certified Federal 501c3 charity, EIN 73-1594411.
- In accordance with US Tax Law, all tax receipts will be completed no later than January 31. Statements, contributions, and expenses are still being reconciled. You can request a copy of your giving statement at that time.
- As a non-profit, DSACO will NOT be mailing or even mass-emailing donation receipts.
- If you would like a copy of your year-to-date giving, please email [email protected] with the subject line "Tax Receipt Inquiry" or complete the online request form: https://dsaco.org/form.php?form_id=20&c=1. We will send you an official receipt via email *by request only* this year.
- Should you have any questions or identify any discrepancies, please contact us for explanation and correction.
- If you donated USED items, those count as an "in-kind" donation, and would be claimed similar to giving clothes to Goodwill, women's shelters, etc.
- Those who have contributed significant time/volunteered at DSACO can document your mileage.
- If you donated to one of our FACEBOOK FUNDRAISERS, there is a link in your own settings that documents how much you gave, which will serve as your receipt as a cash donation.
We are extremely grateful for every cent you have shared in 2020. We realize this past year has been difficult for everyone and we appreciate your continued support! Thank you for helping us provide resources and promote acceptance and inclusion. We look forward to serving our families in 2021!
Here's to a healthy and inclusive 2021!
Down Syndrome Medical Guidelines Published
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome are now available!
If you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome of any age, this is a must-read.
DSACO was part of these efforts of support to establish these guidelines, which are the first evidence-based guidelines for adults with Down syndrome. These guidelines will provide an important tool in a primary care setting, augmenting both evaluation and care previously based solely on a person’s age, gender, clinical symptoms, or the presence of known risk factors and other comorbidities. With the establishment of these guidelines, researchers now have the tools to increase research efforts related to Down syndrome. The Down syndrome research budget at the National Institutes of Health has increased from $27M in FY2016 to an estimated $113M in FY2020. Due to advocacy, excellent initial scientific results, and a focus on translational research at NIH, this trend is likely to continue.
This is just one step closer to figuring out how the extra copy of the 21st chromosome has an effect on individuals with Down syndrome. These guidelines will help further advancements in research and care.
In addition to the attachment, the guidelines will be posted on our website for your review.
If you would like a printed copy, please email [email protected] with your name and address.
This is just one of the many ways your donations and support helps DSACO reach national levels of advocacy. Thank you for all you do!
What are germs and why do we need to wash our hands?
Cassidy and Jessica from Select Kids created a great video all about hand hygiene, social distancing, mask-wearing, PLUS some sensory tips related to hand washing!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Down Syndrome Festival & 5k
Dear DSACO Families,
Due to the rising concern surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), and the increasing mandate around no public gatherings, we have made the decision to take our 5k virtual and change our awareness walk to a car parade at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. This decision was not taken lightly, but our priority is always the safety of our families, loved ones with Down syndrome, 5K runners, volunteers, and to those who help us with the event.
That being said, we feel strongly that those who have registered to run are running for acceptance, inclusion and a PURPOSE! This is why we are going to have a virtual 5K this year and allow our runners to continue to help us further our mission! Our registered runners will receive their 5K bag delivered to their doorstep which will include their 5K shirt and the profile of a person with Down syndrome that you are running in honor of! We ask that you wear your t-shirt while you run and that you run for acceptance and inclusion, while keeping your assigned person in your thoughts.
In addition to the virtual 5k, WE ARE HAVING AN INCLUSION PARADE in lieu of an awareness walk! That’s right- grab some poster board, lights, shoe polish and decorate your car/float and come celebrate with us! We will have volunteers lining the streets with signs and cheering us on as we spread awareness throughout downtown! We ask that everyone stay in their vehicle and not walk in the street to keep everyone safe. We will have more details to come about the time, street entrances, etc. as we work with the city to finalize these plans.
We encourage EVERYONE to sign up to run the 5K virtually. You can expect to receive your package within 10-14 business days to the address you provided in your registration. You should also receive an email that your package has been shipped. Please check your registration account if you need to make any changes to your address. We will not reship returned packages. Once you complete your run on Saturday, Sept. 26, you can enter your time in your EnMotive account and download your finisher’s certificate.
Family Teams please register NOW! Because of traffic flow and street closures we need to have an idea of how many cars to expect. We will also have a contest for the best decorated vehicle!
The health and safety of our loved ones with Down syndrome is extremely important to us. We hope you will run virtually and participate in our parade to celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome on Sept. 26. As always, we will continue to further our mission of promoting acceptance and inclusion!
Sincerely your advocate,
Virtual American Sign Language Class
Hi DSACO Families!
My name is Gwen Cox of Click and Sign. I am going to be offering online classes for all the DSACO families that want to learn how to use American Sign Language ASL to communicate with their children. American Sign Language has worked wonders with all ages and especially well with those that know what they want and need but may be challenged to communicate that.
I have been teaching ASL to families for more than 25 years. I began as an Interpreter in the state of Oklahoma after graduating from Oklahoma State University. I worked everywhere in the state and after a few years, I was asked to come and teach Art classes to children with challenges at the Fine Arts Institute in Edmond. After a year there, I was asked by some families to teach them to sign with their children. A front-page article came out in the Newspaper with me working with a young man with DS and the journey to teaching hearing families and students how to sign began. After two years of classes with the families in Edmond, a company in Seattle, called Sign2Me, asked me to come up and interview for the job of Network Director for teachers all over the country. I also presented at Educational Conferences all over the country and met some amazing people. I did that for 3 years with monthly trips to Seattle, and it was exhausting. So I decided to come back to OKC to teach. Two days after returning to OKC, my friend from PBS, Rachel Coleman of Signing Time said she wanted me to start their Academy and teach teachers all over the world. I reluctantly said yes and began traveling all over the country teaching and presenting to institutions about the benefits of learning to sign. After 5 years of traveling and teaching, and living out of a suitcase, I said….no more. I want to come back to OKC and teach. I have not regretted the decision because I get to be close to family and friends and teach amazing families, and students in OKC.
I will be offering online classes beginning on Wednesday’s, July 22-August 26 and Thursday’s, July 23-August 27. You select which day and time slot works best for you and your family. You don’t have to leave your home and you can have as many family members participate that you want! I will send you a curriculum and set of printable flashcards that you can print out and use. We will conduct classes on GOOGLE HANGOUT which is an APP through Google. All you need is a Gmail account and you are ready to go! Everything is included in the cost of $60 for all 6 classes. I have always done a special price for my DSACO families and this one is a great deal! Below are the time slots for each day. There is room for 8 families for each day, so reserve your slot ASAP:
I am so excited to get started with all of you, so don’t delay…classes will fill quickly! Just pick the time slot that works best for you and register!
See all of you soon!
Gwen E. Cox
Educator, Trainer, and Consultant
Click and Sign
Down Syndrome Festival & 5k
Join us on Saturday, September 26th for the Down Syndrome Festival & 5k as we celebrate the 21st chromosome!
The Festival & 5K is the major, annual fundraising event for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma. Funds raised help the organization accomplish its goals through programs such as microwave-based cooking classes for teens and adults with Down syndrome, free private tutoring and speech therapy for children and adults with Down syndrome, distribution of new parent packets, parent and educator workshops, parent to parent support group meetings and scholarships to the National Down Syndrome Congress annual convention. All money raised stays in the central Oklahoma area to fund the various services, programs, workshops, and events supported by DSACO.
DSACO is here to help and do our part to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. During this national crisis, it is important that we educate ourselves in order to reduce fear and keep our loved ones with Down syndrome safe.
DSACO’s Canceled Programming and Events
Because of the declaration of a state of emergency for Oklahoma involving COVID-19, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma will be using extreme caution until further notice. Our office will remain open on a limited basis to visitors and families. If you feel sick, have a fever, running nose, cough or congestion, we ask that you not enter the facility. Please feel free to contact us by phone (405) 600-9981 or email [email protected] if you have any questions. We will work diligently to make sure your needs are met.
We will continue to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of our families and communities. But most importantly we want to keep our individuals with Down syndrome safe and out of harm’s way. We will continue to keep you advised by our local healthcare officials and do what we think is best to involving our programs and activities throughout the next few months.
As always, thank you for you continued support and cooperation. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our families and community members.
As of to date we have canceled the following events and activities:
Crazy Sock Hop
Knock Your Socks Off! Fundraising Luncheon
Kylee’s Kitchen through March 27
Tutoring through March 27
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Visit the CDC website for accurate and up to date information regarding the coronavirus. There you will find information on preparing yourself and your home, caring for those at high risk and other useful resources. For more information, CLICK HERE.
The National Down Syndrome Society has developed a one-pager to help share important facts about the virus and tips for staying healthy. Download PDF HERE.
View the NDSS Vaccine Allocation Recommendation HERE.
Free Education Resources
Oklahoma State Department of Education
The Down Syndrome Center of Western Pennsylvania produced a podcast with Dr. Nowalk about the current status of this viral outbreak and what we know about its potential impact in children with Down syndrome as well as a podcast about preventing respiratory illnesses (recorded prior to COVID-19).
Learning Without Tears
Learning Without Tears wants to help ensure our students can keep the learning going, even when schools are closed. They have provided FREE resources at RWTears.com. They have also eliminated any shipping fees to the contiguous United States for all our workbooks, activity books, and paper products purchased at their online store, HERE.
Support DSACO During COVID-19
We realize this national crisis will have a huge financial impact on our organization. We sincerely ask that you continue to help us by participating in our “Knock Your Socks Off!” awareness campaign by wearing your crazy socks on 3.21 and tagging us on social media! You can also help by making a donation HERE.
Feature Your Child at the DSACO Cup!
Become a FAMILY HOLE SPONSOR!
We would love to have a sign featuring a photo of your child displayed at a tee box at the DSACO Cup! Family Hole sponsors not only help us raise awareness but also remind golfers who they are supporting by participating in our tournament!
The Family Hole Sponsorship includes an H-stake sign you get to keep following the tournament. If you are interested, you can purchase your sponsorship online HERE!
Message from Mayor Holt
Thank you Mayor David Holt for your consistent support! Learn more about the Down Syndrome Virtual 5k & Parade of Inclusion and how to get involved at www.dsfestivaland5k.com.
The health and safety of our loved ones with Down syndrome is extremely important to us. We hope you will run virtually and participate in our parade to celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome on Sept. 26. Money raised at the festival will stay in central Oklahoma to serve our growing families as well as other programs and related services. We are so excited to share all the exciting opportunities our organization makes available to our families. Through your support, DSACO provides:
Free tutoring services and speech therapy for individuals with Down syndrome
Microwave-based cooking classes for teens and adult
New parent packets and quarterly new parent breakfasts
Parent-to-parent support meetings
Workshops for parents, self-advocates, and educators
Scholarships for families to attend national conventions
Education and medical outreach initiatives
Family and teen/adult events and programs
As always, we will continue to further our mission of promoting acceptance and inclusion!
THANK YOU for supporting DSACO's mission to
"raise awareness and provide resources, as well as promote acceptance and inclusion for people with Down syndrome."