Category Archives: News

Swindon Santa Run

The 6th Phoenix Santa Run at Lydiard Park will be held on Sunday 3 December, benefiting the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Swindon Down Syndrome Group

Open to Adults, Children and the dog. Entry applications and payment in advance. Adult £15, Youth £8, Child £5, 4yrs and under Free, Dogs Free (but must be on a lead).

How to register and full event details will follow soon. Watch this space!

Trisome Challenge 11 November 2017

A sporting event to challenge people with Down syndrome across a range of sports.

Xcel Leisure Centre, Mitchell Avenue, Coventry, CV4 8DY

People with Down syndrome are invited to join this challenge with a buddy.

The Centre has all the facilities we will need for our events:

• Swimming relay
• Table Tennis doubles
• Boccia Pairs
• Obstacle Relay
• Indoor Kurling pairs
• Darts pairs

Each Down syndrome participant will compete with a buddy. The buddy may be a brother or sister, parent or simply a friend. In the spirit of inclusiveness the buddy will not be disabled. Each pair must be a male and a female. All the events are designed for both Down syndrome people and their buddy to compete together and both will contribute to the final score for the pair.

The Swindon Downs Syndrome Group hope you will support this event and the Group are subsidising the entry fee so you will only need to pay £15.

If there is significant interest from the Group then we will look at putting on a transport to the event for a nominal charge per person. The Group will be managing the return of the application forms. Please send your completed form to swimming@swindondownsgroup.org.uk or by post to 34 Periwinkle Close, Swindon SN2 2QH by 1 July 2017

Download your application form here

Employment Liaison Officer

Employment Liaison Officer (Swindon and surrounding areas)

The DSA  have an exciting opportunity within their WorkFit team. They are looking for an experienced Employment Liaison Officer to be based in Swindon. Read the full details below or download a PDF here.

Jobs

 

Helping our children find their voice

Each year we raise money to fund speech and language groups for children within our group. All children with Down’s syndrome in Swindon are given the opportunity and positively encouraged to attend mainstream school. They receive varying levels of support but all receive, at best, only one hour of speech and language therapy per term.

Some of our children attend specialist schools for people with learning disabilities. At these schools speech and language therapy is a major part of the curriculum, provided on a weekly basis by specially trained teachers and teaching assistants who can support them on a one-to-one basis.
Unfortunately our children who attend mainstream school do not receive this one-to-one support, mostly due to budget constraints. We don’t charge our parents for speech and language therapy as we need to ensure that it is accessible to all our families and that nobody is excluded on grounds of income.
Thanks to the support of Global’s Make Some Noise we will be able continue to support our children with their speech therapy for the next two years.

“Speech therapy needs to be part of their everyday life and brought into every situation.”

 

It’s about making it fun and normal, not different. The ability to communicate is such a basic need. It enables us to communicate choice, feelings, needs and to socialise.We insist that a parent/carer attends with the child/young person and in almost all cases their teaching assistant from school also attends. This ensures that any work done in the group can be carried on at home and school.
The group sessions are about increasing vocabulary, clarity of speech, understanding of language, teaching signs but most of all increasing their confidence and self-esteem by encouraging them to speak and giving them the structure and words that they need.
Far too often our young people will only speak to familiar adults who they know will understand them. Our Group aims to widen that.

 

They will all enter the big, wide world where you make friends, work with colleagues and communicate with your care givers by speaking and we must encourage them to do that from an early age by giving them the skills, praise and practice within a caring but challenging environment.

“We believe that people with Down’s syndrome have a valuable role to play in their local community, especially if we help them improve communication skills, develop confidence and give them a sense of worth.”

 

If you can help support our speech and language therapy project you can make donations online here  or contact us directly info@swindondownsgroup.org.uk
For further information you can download our leaflet about speech and language therapy here.

Ethan is more confident about using his voice…

Ethan is just one of the children we support with speech and language therapy. Before joining the group, he was very aware of his difficulties with speech and avoided speech with all but his family.

 

Now, thanks to the work of our speech and language sessions , Ethan has become much more confident about using his voice.

 

His mum Jo said: “Over the summer, and since starting the new school year, Ethan has continued to grow with his speech and language skills. Ethan continues to say new words and has been particularly pleased with himself for being able to say his uncle and cousins’ names.
 
He loves the praise and smiles he receives and is very excited when you have understood him. His favourite thing at the moment is to say ‘coconut cake’ whenever he can as he loves the response we give. It’s quite a tricky thing for Ethan to say and he will say it loud and proud every time! Ethan still really enjoys speech group and his confidence continues to grow.

 

Global’s Make Some Noise are supporting our charity’s speech and language therapy sessions, which give young people with Down’s syndrome the opportunity to practice their communication skills in a structured, safe and fun environment.

Jumble Sale 26 November

Our next jumble sale is Saturday 26 November at St. Barnabas Church Hall. Come along and support us on the day, we will have lots of items on sale, plus there is always the opportunity to stop for a homemade cake and cup of tea!
 
We are always looking for helpers on the day to setup, sell jumble and to clear away at the end. If you can spare an hour or so to help please email chair@swindondownsgroup.org.uk

Summer Raffle Winners

Congratulations to our Summer Raffle winners that were drawn on Tuesday 18 October. All winners are being contacted directly.

First Prize Chocolate Heaven Hamper

Winner – Gail Light

Second Prize Ladies Pamper Hamper

Winner – Rowena Stackman

Third Prize Bottle of Champagne & Truffles

Winner – Belinda Chandler

Thank you to Zurich Community Trust for donating the prizes for this years raffle we really appreciate your support.

How your money helps

We want people with Down’s syndrome to have the same opportunities as everyone else. We aim to support people with Down’s syndrome, providing information, help and activities to them and their families in Swindon and the surrounding area as well as raising awareness of Down’s syndrome in the community. We offer support from the moment a child is born right through to adulthood.

The money we raise goes directly to funding the services and activities we run. Find out more about how we support people with Down’s syndrome explore our website www.swindondownsgroup.org.uk

The start of Charlie’s GCSE journey

Charlie’s mum Mandy shares with us what Charlie’s first week in year 10 has been like as he heads back to school…

It doesn’t seem like yesterday that we were worried about Charlie’s first day at Highworth Warneford Secondary school. Had we  made the right choice sending him to mainstream? Had we made the right decision for him to go to a different one to his brother? Would his primary friends still be his friends or would it not be cool? Well here we are finishing the first week of Year 10 and ‘yes’ is the answer to all the questions.

Charlie loves his school, his teachers and friends he even likes homework. Warneford staff and pupils have accepted him into their school life and encouraged him to do well. He has made other friends away from his primary set who want to be friends with him for just being Charlie and he has grown with them. Charlie has now chosen the subjects he wants to do to match with what he wants to do when he leaves school, a Hotel Manager, aiming high!

This year like others years will bring many challenges and this year and year 11, we know, will be his hardest due to the change in the GSCE system, but we will embrace that challenge with Charlie and the school knowing that they will help and guide him, whilst having a great set of friends along the way.

Callum starts sixth form

It’s not quite back to school for Callum this week but the start of a new chapter, sixth form! Here’s how Callum and his mum Jenny felt about the transition from school to college…
I suppose I hadn’t really given much thought to Callum starting sixth form as the focus for him for the best part of six months has been GCSEs. We had originally gone down the route of a mainstream college as he has been in mainstream education all his life but it quickly became apparent that at 16 the difference between Callum and typically developed boys of 16 was greater than I had anticipated and I feared that he would get lost in the system. I had a conversation in April this year with Crowdy’s and immediately knew this was the place where Callum would continue to grow into the young man he was becoming and develop life skills that he wouldn’t get anywhere else.
Callum left school with 3 GCSE passes, a BTEC level 2 in Home cooking skills and a BTEC level 1 in the arts. Could not be prouder!
I’ve asked Callum how he feels about starting college and this is what he said… “I like Crowdys. It is a very good place to go for people with disabilities. They have two flats being built and I am looking forward to staying in one of them. I love functional skills because we talk about food a lot and we will be learning how to cook tea. I really want to do performing arts and hospitality so I can go to Foxes Academy then I can be a Butlins Redcoat. “
As a mum I hadn’t realised just how much I had worried about Callum beginning this next chapter until the bus arrived outside our house on Wednesday morning. All of a sudden my throat tightened and I felt a huge pang of emotion and a tear trickling down my face that I just couldn’t control. Suddenly my little boy wasn’t so little anymore. We’ve had high expectations for Callum as we have for our other children but there is always the fear of the unknown, that you can never be exactly sure what the future holds but I do know that he will be ok. My advice to other parents/carers/siblings is let them lead you. Keep an open mind and when talking about their future never say no you can’t/won’t be able do that. Callum wants to be a Redcoat. He would be the first and there would absolutely be challenges along the way. But my view would be “what can we do to make that happen.”

Josh’s first day at school

Josh, aged 4, had his very first day of school  this week. His mum Michelle tells us what it was like for them as parents watching Josh start school and how the first day went…

Before Josh started school, I could sum up how I felt about him starting school in two words – nervous and excited. I am sure this was the same as every other parent whose child was starting school for the first time. However I had some very different worries to most other parents – how would Josh get on with his one-to-one? Will the other children understand Josh’s speech? We had spent time in the days leading up to starting school, looking at pictures of his classroom and his teacher. He smiled as we looked at them and was excited to be going to “big school”. Josh was nervous too and hid his face in my shoulder as I carried him across the playground this morning.
Now he has had his first day, my over-riding feeling is of pride. He did it and enjoyed it and wants to go back again tomorrow! Chris and I can’t stop looking at the traditional first day of school picture that so many parents have. For us, it is a reminder of how far Josh has come. Although finding out what he did each day is going to be a challenge. When I asked him what he did today, his answer was “soft play”!