A Model to Emulate?

Canada’s first community designed specifically for people with dementia is opening next year in Langley, British Columbia.  It’s called “The Village” – the design of which was inspired by Hogeweyk, the world’s first dementia village, in The Netherlands.

Planned so that people could be “safely” independent and live their own life their way,  residents will be able to shop, have a coffee, walk their dog, and get their hair cut in the Village Square, as well as take part in various community-based activities.

Read the full story here.

The Time to Start Planning is Now

A recent U.S. based study in the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities shows that very few parents of children with intellectual disabilities adequately plan for the future of their children. The key barriers?  Fear, stress, high costs, and lack of time. The biggest reason, cited by 61 percent of parents, was a lack of residential, employment and recreational options and services.

Read the article here.

Fighting for Down Syndrome

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Some countries are now entering a new era of discrimination against children with Down syndrome. It’s one thing to protect the legal right to have an abortion, but it is quite another to insulate those who have such an abortion from the reality of what they have done.

Check out the full article here.

Positivity and Down Syndrome

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In the vast majority of cases, a new analysis finds that parents and siblings of those with Down syndrome report positive feelings about having a family member with the chromosomal disorder.

Read the full story here.

Together we can create a loud, single global voice advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome on March 21, 2016 – the 11th annual World Down Syndrome Day. Go to https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/ for more information!

A Special Dutch Village: lessons to learn?

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Just outside Amsterdam, the small village of Hogeway only has 152 inhabitants. But Hogeway is more than just a tiny town.  It is, in fact , a special, cutting-edge community for Alzheimer’s patients that has its own town square, theatre, garden, and post office. Unlike typical villages however, this one has cameras monitoring residents every hour of every day, caretakers dressed in street clothes, and only one door in and out of town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe.  Friends and family are encouraged to visit.  Residents at Hogewey require fewer medications, eat better, live longer, and appear more joyful than those in standard elderly-care facilities.

Could this be an exciting model or blueprint for similar-type communities for adults with developmental disabilities?  Read more about Hogeway here and let me know what you think!

Click here for the terrific CNN profile on this unique community.

Click here for an article about Hogeway by the Daily Mail.

The link to the Hogeway website may be found here.

I believe there are many lessons we can model and apply for adults with developmental disabilities.

Achieving Happiness

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Here is another fine article about the initial challenges and eventual, hidden joys in raising a child with a developmental disability. Rachel Simmons offers a frank and touching perspective on what it’s like for a driven, overachieving mother to parent a child with developmental delays. Read it here.

If you haven’t already done so, check out another amazing story about parenting a child with a developmental disability – featured in an April 2014 blog post. You can read it here.

Special Ed Apps

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Down Syndrome Education International (DSEI) recently introduced its See and Learn Speech Series apps, available from the Windows Store and the iTunes App Store. See and Learn Speech is designed to teach children to hear and produce speech sounds (phonemes), to hear the differences between sounds (discrimination), to develop their speech sound system (phonology), and to produce clear speech. See and Learn Saying Words plus additional new apps in the See and Learn Speech Series are planned for the near future. Check out the See and Learn resources at seeandlearn.org

Apple is also highlighting a growing number of apps catering to individuals with developmental disabilities and other special needs with a featured special education section in iTunes’ App Store. Located in the “Education” category, you’ll find a “Special Education Collection” that includes a variety of useful applications for computers, iPhones and iPads, including apps used for communication, emotion and language development, seeing and hearing, sensory and visual perception, tracking and reference, and life skills. In addition to being fun, engaging and valuable teaching and learning tools, these apps are increasingly popular in the special needs community as assistive technology devices as well as organizational and teaching aids.