AUTHOR: Lauren Smith, Executive Director
AGENCY: Centre Region Down Syndrome Society
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and the regional group promoting inclusion and advocacy is kicking off the month with their largest event of the year – the Buddy Walk.
Centre Region Down Syndrome Society (CRDSS) is a vibrant, hands-on organization that provides individuals with Down syndrome and their families the tools, resources and support necessary to participate in, contribute to, and achieve personal health and fulfillment.
The organization is active year-round offering a variety of programs, including educational workshops, new family counseling and support, special member events, and a performance arts program - the For Good Troupe, which performs for the public seasonally. CRDSS recently partnered with the YMCA of Centre County to launch the well-being program Community Connections, which focuses on the social, emotional, physical, and educational well-being of individuals with disabilities. A hallmark program, the Enrichment Fund, specifically fuels activities that keep people with Down syndrome physically active and socially engaged. Through a mini-grant program, the fund assists families with things like purchasing adaptive bikes or defraying the cost of therapeutic horseback riding and swimming lessons.
Due to advances in medical technology, individuals with Down syndrome are living longer than ever before. In 1910, children with Down syndrome were expected to survive to age nine. With the discovery of antibiotics, the average survival age increased to 19 or 20. Now, with recent advancements in clinical treatment, most particularly corrective heart surgeries, as many as 80% of adults with Down syndrome reach age 60, and many live even longer. More and more Americans are interacting with individuals with Down syndrome, increasing the need for widespread public education and acceptance.
CRDSS is one many organizations across the US that provide an array of programs to serve the Down syndrome community. Personal support is priceless for families with Down syndrome – that is what the organization’s founders recognized 17 years ago when they saw the need for this organization, and they strategically built support programs to fulfill this mission. To learn more about CRDSS visit www.centreregiondownsyndrome.org