Events & Activities
DSAMT holds a number of events & programs throughout the year to celebrate our friends and family members who have Down syndrome, support each other, spread awareness and information to our families and communities and raise funds to support these wonderful programs. Below is a cumulative list of 2014 events:
- DSAMT will partner with Autism TN to provide its 7th annual Summer Opportunities Fair - February 27 We are expecting over 50 individuals and agencies to participate, sharing recreational, research, and summer opportunities for the autism and disability community. This fair will feature recreational opportunities such as camps, arts, music, dance, swimming, and parks & recreation programs, and various research programs available through local universities. CLICK HERE for more information. DSAMT camp registration will not be available at the fair.
- DSAMT Friends Camp for Kids - is designed and led by two highly-qualified behavior analysts who work with children with disabilities, including Down syndrome and have extensive experience and understanding addressing behavioral goals in a group environment. Children will benefit from small group instruction with one of two behavior analysts, while learning alongside age-appropriate peers. $100 per child. Siblings & typically developing friends - $50. Click here to register. This camp will max out, so don't delay!
- July 21-25, 2014 for ages 5-10
Volunteers: We require more than 12-15 volunteers for this camp - especially those with PT, OT, SLP or BCBA students, so if you are interested in helping and learning from 2 very highly experiended BCBAs, please contact email@example.com.
Pictures from 2013 campers are online!
- Dance Camp - July 7-11. This very special camp gives individuals with Down syndrome & their siblings the very unique and wonderful opportunity to learn to dance with world famous dancer, Pierre Dulaine! Mr. Dulaine is known for his work on Dancing in Jaffa (2013), Mad Hot Ballroom (2005) and Take the Lead (2006). Click here for information & to register!
- Creative Arts Camp - June 16 - 20. DSAMT Creative Arts Camp is a five day creative experience for teens and adults
with Down syndrome and other disabilities. This week long day camp provides a fun and safe environment in which campers can make friends and explore a variety of artistic endeavors. Camp counselors & volunteers provide peer friendships, mentoring and supervision. Click here for flyer.
Pictures from 2013 campers are online!
- Movie Event: How to Train Your Dragon 2 -Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9:30am Join Autism Tennessee and the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (DSAMT) for How to Train Your Dragon 2 at the Carmike Thoroughbred in Cool Springs! This event is open to all families affected by autism or Down syndrome. Tickets are $10.50 per person and include a small popcorn and drink!
Call Autism Tennessee at (615) 385-2077, ext. 1 to make reservations and for payment. The deadline to register is Wednesday, June 11 at 4:00 pm! Click here to see the trailer!
- Summer Family Picnic - June 15, 2014 DSAMT is pleased to host our annual Summer Family Picnic will again be at the Nashville Zoo! Families can pick up their wristbands at the gate as early as 10am and can stay in the Zoo until close at 6pm. DSAMT families will enjoy a catered grilled lunch (vegetarian and gluten-free options available), misting hut, and music at our private, covered pavilion. We'll enjoy a very special up-close animal encounter with a zookeeper and 2 or 3 animals, so bring your camera. If the animals are in a good mood, you may even get to pet one.
Because it is Father's Day, we'll also have something extra special for all Dads & Grandfathers who attend!
When? Families can enter the zoo starting at 10am and stay until the zoo closes. The DSAMT Pavilion, misting hut and games station will be open from 12pm to 3pm. A catered lunch will be served at 12:30pm. Up-close animal encounters at the Pavilion start at 1pm.
Cost? Suggested donation for DSAMT families is $21 per DSAMT family. This can include immediate family members and grandparents. Extended family members and friends are welcome to join us for $30 per person, age 2 and up. NO NEED to register anyone under 2.
The $30 cost for additional guests (not immediate family & grandparents) applies even if you are a Nashville Zoo member, as this is considered a private event. Wristbands will be required to access DSAMT activities and food.
Important! We must turn in a final count and guest list to the zoo, so advanced registration is required by June 10. Unfortunately, we simply cannot take late registrations. Click here to register!
2014 Educational Opportunities
- Aging, Dementia & Developmental Disabilities - February 7
Families and caregivers are understandably concerned about the increased risk of dementia for those with Down syndrome. Getting up-to-date, accurate information empowers us to be prepared and make the best choices for our loved ones in the future.
The Aging, Dementia & Developmental Disabilities Forum will provide helpful information to individuals with developmental disabilities and families, direct support providers, clinicians, program staff and administrators, and public policy makers concerned about adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are at risk of or who are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Click here to view the flyer.
- Advocacy Workshop - Inclusive Education: How to Maximize Your Child’s Time in the General Education Classroom Wednesday Feb 19 - The Special Education Advocacy Center, The Arc Davidson County, Autism Tennessee, and the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee are proud to present a series of education advocacy workshops for parents.This series will consist of four workshops during 2014.
- DS 101 - April 1 - A workshop is for new parents and family members of a child with Down syndrome. Come ask questions about everything from finding a pediatrician to connecting with other parents. Learn about health care for your child, community support organizations, opportunities for parent education, participating in research, and much more. Join us for an informal discussion with agency panelists and parents of both young children and young adults with Down syndrome. CLICK HERE to view the flyer and CLICK HERE to register.
- Advocacy Workshop - Succeeding at Your Child's Next Annual IEP Meeting: Understanding what to do before, during and after your child's next meeting in order to achieve the best possible IEP for your child - April 5 Click here to register. This presentation will focus on providing parents with strategies for ensuring that their child's IEP adequately addresses their needs. We will talk not only about IEP requirements but also about what parents can and should do to prepare for their child's IEP meeting, who they should take to the meeting, how they can best advocate for their child during the IEP meeting, and what steps should be taken after the meeting.
- Instructionally-Appropriate IEPs - Lunch & Informational Meeting - April 23 - 11:00am to 12:30pm. Join DSAMT Executive Director, Alecia Talbott, for a discussion on recent changes the state Department of Education has made to IEPs. We'll discuss these changes, possible effects on students with Down syndrome and prepare a list of follow-up questions for the TN DOE. Light lunch will be served. Space is limited so RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more information.
- How to Maximize the Time Spent in the General Education Classroom - Webinar - May 14
Join Erin Richardson, Co-Director of the Special Education Advocacy Center, for an informative online presentation for parents on maximizing your child's time in the general education classroom. This webinar is presented free of charge and is sponsored by The Arc Davidson County, Autism TN, Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee, and the Special Education Advocacy Center.
Please CLICK HERE to register. Your confirmation email will provide meeting website and login information.
- What's Next? Planning for the future - POSTPONED TO FALL 2013- Join DSAMT & a panel of experts for a special seminar focused on the best steps toward planning for your child's future. This presentation will give you information to help make important decisions, including "Who should be named as my child's guardian?" and "What will my child do after high school?" CLICK HERE for flyer. RSVP to email@example.com.
2014 Family Activities
& Awareness Events
- World Down Syndrome Awareness Day Celebration - 3-21 is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day & organizations across the globe will celebrate everyone with that something extra. This year DSAMT has a number of family opportunities including a Spaghetti Supper & Show featuring many individuals with Down syndrome showing off their talents. The event will be on March 22 at St. Henry's Church in Nashville from 5:30 to 7:30pm. More details coming very soon!
3.21 - Lots of Socks - CLICK HERE
3.22 - Spaghetti Supper & Show
3.21/3.22 - Wrap UP in Memphis - IDSC/DSAMT/DSA of Memphis & Mid South
- DSAMT Spring Family Picnic & Egg Hunt - Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 11am to 1pm - Bring your picnic blanket, folding chairs & an empty basket & join DSAMT for our Spring Family Picnic & Egg Hunt! The picnic will be held at the First Church of God, 109 Morningside Dr, Mt. Juliet, 37122.
Schedule of events:
- 11am - 12pm - Lunch (BBQ sandwiches, chips, lemonade, water)
- 11am - 12:30pm - Take picture with the Easter Bunny, play games, check out the animal petting zoo, visit with old friends and make new ones
- 12:30pm - Egg hunt begins
- Vanderbilt Down Syndrome Clinic/DSAMT Holiday Party - For the past few years, DSAMT has been very fortunate that the Vanderbilt Down Syndrome Clinic has put on a holiday party for DSAMT families. The 2014 party will be announced later this year. Like any good holiday party, attendees will enjoy fun with friends, snacks and a visit and photo with Santa, himself!
NES Christmas Parade - Down Syndrome Awareness Float - Thanks to long-time DSAMT friend and volunteer, Paul Thompson, DSAMT will again have a float in the NES Christmas parade, and families can ride along! We'll drink some hot chocolate, sing some carols and have a blast during this nighttime parade through Nashville. The NES Parade is December 6, 2013.
2014 Advocacy Opportunities
DSAMT encourages all parents, caregivers and anyone interested in helping to advocate for an individual with any disability to participate in the Vanderbilt Volunteer Advocacy Program. CLICK HERE for the flyer. The Volunteer Advocacy Project (VAP), teaches all the ticks of the trade of serving as a family advocate and prepares caregivers to better advocate for their own children's rights.
"I learned so much more in this program than I could have imagined. The speakers gave great insights, and the experiences of helping others have made me a much more confident, prepared advocate for my own child in his IEP meetings." - a parent who completed the training
2014 New & Expecting Parent Activities
Lunch & Play - New Moms & Dads are invited to join other Moms & Dads who have children with Down syndrome for a very casual lunch & play. These are held in various areas throughout the year and help us to reach out to new families and provide support and information. Parents are given our new parent gifts. Children are welcome - we always choose a kid-friendly location. RSVPs are required for new parents (so we make sure to bring enough new baby gifts). Dates TBD
Mothers' Baby Shower - DSAMT operates a First Call Program, in which parents of children newly diagnosed with Down syndrome are visited by a trained parent. This year we expand this program to include a Baby Shower at DSAMT. New mothers of children with Down syndrome (born since August 2013) and anyone with a prenatal diagnosis will be showered with gifts and support from experienced mothers. The next baby shower will be held in July 2014.
Down Syndrome 101- April 1, 2014
This workshop is for new parents and family members of a child with Down syndrome. Come ask questions about everything from finding a pediatrician to connecting with other parents. Learn about health care for your child, community support organizations, opportunities for parent education, participating in research, and much more. Join us for an informal discussion with agency panelists and parents of both young children and young adults with Down syndrome. CLICK HERE to register.
New Parents Supper presented by the Pujols Family Foundation - April 21
- Moderator Alecia Talbott, Director, Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennesseee (DSAMT) and parent
- David Crnobori, M.S.Ed., Educational Consultant, Division of Developmental Medicine and the Center for Childhood Development
- Nirupama Madduri, M.D., Division of Developmental Medicine, Down Syndrome Clinic
- Elise McMillan, J.D., Co-Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and parent
- Catherine Bush, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Clear Talk Project, Research Coordinator
2014 Caregiver & Sibling Events
Moms' Night Out. Mothers of children with special needs have some special needs of their own, which definitely includes respite. Several times a year, we get together to connect to other moms, share some of our successes, ask questions and get help on some of our struggles and just have fun! If you have an idea for a Mom's Night Out, just let us know. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 28 at 6pm - Brixx in Franklin.
- Calling all brothers and sisters! Join us for games, activities, and conversation with other kids who have
brothers or sisters with a special need. Think of it as a day camp for siblings!
Membership: Siblings of those with Down syndrome and/or Autism ages 5-12
Meetings: Every other month at Grace Community Church, 5711 Granny White Pike, Brentwood, 37027
Time: 10am to 2pm
Cost: $15 registration fee per child, includes lunch & a snack
Space is limited. Registration is required. To register, call ASMT at 615.385.2077, ext. 3.
Upcoming SibSaturday Dates 2014: March 8, May 10, July 26, Sept. 13, Nov. 15
Programs & Events for Individuals with Down Syndrome
Circle of Friends
Membership: Open to anyone with DS, ages 12+
Meetings: Monthly - August through May, Nashville Area
Cost: $10 activity fee per meeting, financial assistance is available
Contact: Erin Kice at email@example.com or 615.386.9002
Circle of Friends is a monthly gathering for teens and adults who have Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities. Meetings provide opportunities for education, socialization and creativity in a fun and safe environment. Activities often include Tae Kwon Do, arts and crafts, service projects and more.
Participants at Circle of Friends get a chance to develop a social network and spend some time away from parents, while caregivers get a chance to catch up on errands or spend time with other siblings. The group meets monthly at a Nashville-area church. Circle of Friends usually doesn't meet during the summer months.
To register for Circle of Friends, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DSAMT is excited to partner once again with the Pujols Family Foundation to host the second annual Tennessee Autumn Prom on November 1, 2014 at the Opryland Hotel! The Autumn Prom is a very special, formal, invitation-only event where people with Down syndrome are truly the stars of the evening.
Individuals ages 16 and up who have Down syndrome are invited to attend along with one guest each. We have gathered a mailing list of individuals in Tennessee ages 16 and up who have Down syndrome. If someone you know is age 16 and up and has Down syndrome, and you would like them to receive an invitation for next year's prom, please contact DSAMT at email@example.com.
NEW in 2014 - Buddy Up Tennis!
Buddy Up Tennis is on its way to Murfreesboro and DSAMT is proud to support this wonderful opportunity for individuals with Down syndrome. Buddy Up Tennis, Fitness and Fun is a High-Energy Adaptive Tennis and Fitness clinic designed for individuals with Down syndrome. We feature 90-minute clinics that include fitness activities and professional tennis instruction, as well as participation by our volunteer Buddies, who work alongside the athletes to maximize the experience. Anyone 5 years and older can join Buddy Up. We will provide tennis racquets, team shirts and fun! No prior experience is required. With our help, athletes will join a team, improve their motor skills, enhance their coordination, and build up their confidence. Most importantly, both our Buddies and our athletes will make new friends and have a great time!
Clinics begin April 12th and will run every other Saturday or twice monthly. Clinics are $15 each or $25/month, with scholarships available. Contact Murfreesboro@buddyuptennis.com.
Fundraising events provide most of DSAMT’s programming revenue, and it takes a great team of volunteers and donors to make them possible.
Caleb Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament
The 2013 Caleb Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, presented by North America Administrators, held at Vanderbilt Legends Club was a wonderful success. DSAMT would like to thank Event Chair Karen Dugan and Paul Thompson and his family. Special thanks to our sponsors North America Administrators, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Immanuel Baptist Church, Nashville Fire Fighters Local, Beasley Family Foundation, Amerigas, Old Hickory Credit Union, International Assurance of Tennessee and many others.
The annual Caleb Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament was created by DSAMT member Paul Thompson to honor the memory of his son, Caleb and to raise funds to support DSAMT. Caleb was born in 2003 and passed away in 2004 from heart complications, but his memory is celebrated each year at the golf tournament.
We look forward to this year's tournament, which will take place May 29, 2014. To view photos from last year's event, click the link below. Click here for information on the 2014 Tournament.
View a slideshow of the 2013 Caleb Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament!
The 2014 Buddy Walk will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at Centennial Park, Nashville. Keep checking back for more information.
You can view photos from previous years' Buddy Walks and any of our other events at DSAMT's Flickr page when you click this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsamt/sets/
Research & Other Opportunities
- Seeking Stories: Tennessee Kindred Stories of Disability and Aging - The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and The Arc Tennessee are seeking stories about Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities related to issues of aging. What joys and challenges arise as individuals with disabilities age? What hopes or fears come up for their parents, caregivers, direct support professionals? We want to speak with individuals with disabilities and/or family members, or direct service providers to learn about these issues. The person with a disability must be age 40 or older. Participants will be interviewed by graduate students from Vanderbilt University either in-person or by phone. Interviews take about an hour and will take place in March or April 2014. Stories may be shared with members of the Tennessee Legislature and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in a collection of stories about the importance of improving quality of life for people with disabilities. Stories also may be shared through the websites and activities of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, The Arc Tennessee, and through the web-based public database, Tennessee Kindred Stories of Disability (kc.vanderbilt.edu/kindredstories).
To help others in similar situations.
To create awareness of disability issues in the state of Tennessee.
To educate service providers, state policymakers, and the general public on issues of disability.
To engage in the disability community to create positive change.
If you are willing to be interviewed, please contact Courtney Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org, (615) 322-5658