Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spread the Word to end the R-Word

Have you taken the pledge yet?

Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and our supporters to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word.

The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The official annual day of awareness is held the first Wednesday of every March. While most activities are centered on or near that annual day in March, people everywhere can help spread the word throughout their communities and schools year-round thru pledge drives, youth rallies and online activation.
Spread the Word to End the Word was founded by college students Soeren Palumbo (Notre Dame 2011) and Tim Shriver (Yale 2011) in 2009, and continues to be led by passionate young people, Special Olympics athletes and Best Buddies participants across the United States and in many other parts of the world.

Celebrity activist John C. McGinley is a spokesperson for the campaign.

Respectful and inclusive language is essential to the movement for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. However, much of society does not recognize the hurtful, dehumanizing and exclusive effects of the word “retard(ed).”

It is time to address the minority slur “retard(ed)” and raise the consciousness of society to its hurtful effects.

Visit to learn how you can Spread the Word to End the Word.

For more information, contact:

Mandy Murphy, Special Olympics


Heather Schatz, Best Buddies
305-374-2233, ext. 207

Be gentle.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Science Camp time!

Packing up and ready to head to the school

Happy face


What do you mean no TV?

Gotta work on that pakcing


Happy camper

Loading the truck with everyone's stuff

Now that is a full truck

All aboard for a great trip.
It is really quiet around this house.  The boys left for 6th Grade Science Camp with their class.  Wow, 4 1/2 days.  Brave, brave teachers.

Be gentle

Monday, February 27, 2012

Punky....... Have you checked out this wonderful cartoon?

The first animated series with a character who happens to rock qn extra chromosome is Punky.  Have you had a chance to share it with your family?

Here is an article written recently about this ground breaking series from Ireland.

Punky - the first ever animated cartoon featuring a lead character with Down Syndrome - is going global with Target Entertainment. Target has pledged to donate half of global sales commissions to support Down Syndrome Education International’s work to improve education for young people with Down syndrome.
Punky is an original animated TV series which tells the stories from the everyday life of Punky, a six-year-old girl, who has Down syndrome. Punky is a happy little girl who loves music, dancing and hugs! She loves playing with her big brother, Con, and jumping around with her dog, Rufus. She enjoys helping around the house with Mum and trying to make Cranky, her grandmother, just a little less cranky. As a child with Down syndrome, Punky lives in the moment. If something isn’t right, if someone has a problem, Punky will set out to fix it. To Punky, the solution is always simple.
The series was created by Lindsay J. Sedgwick, developed and produced by Monster Animation, a Dublin-based, and commissioned by RTÉ Young People’s programmes, with financial assistance from RTÉ, the Irish Film Board, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound and Vision Fund and S481 Film Incentive.
The character of Punky is voiced by Aimee Richardson, who herself has Down syndrome and Down Syndrome Ireland provided support and reviewed material during development and production of the series.
Pat Clarke, the Chief Executive of Down Syndrome Ireland said: “Greater diversity in how people with disabilities are portrayed in the media is really vital and Punky, with her energetic, fun and curious nature, avoids all stereotypes.”
Punky takes a fresh approach at illuminating one of the key concepts underlying children’s television schedules today, the acceptance of diversity in society. Through their extensive research and development, the creator and writers have a produced a series of stories that are entirely true to life, engaging and full of elements that are very attractive to children. Punky is a light-hearted, fun and exciting series at the heart of which lies an exceptional child.
The global rights to sell Punky were recently acquired by Target Entertainment – a leading rights management businesses, based in the UK. Target has pledged to donate half of global sales commissions to support DSE’s work to improve education for young people with Down syndrome.
CEO of Target Alison Rayson, revealed why the series is so special to her saying “When I first saw Punky I felt an immediate connection to her because of my own son Jack who also has Down syndrome and is three and a half. I have been thinking for some time about how Target could become involved in an animated show with a lead character that had Down syndrome and it seems like fate that a colleague one day last year asked me if I had heard about Monster’s new show Punky.”
Frank Buckley, CEO of Down Syndrome Education International, “Punky is a delightful and pioneering series that explores the world through the eyes of a young girl with Down syndrome. Quirky, imaginative and engaging, Punky encourages us to see every child as an individual. We are delighted to be associated with the global release of the series and thrilled with Target Entertainment’s support for better education for children with Down syndrome.

Be gentle.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Employee celebrates twenty years with employer. Oh yeah, he rocks his extra chromosome.

Employee with Down Syndrome celebrates twenty years with employer, Burger king.  How many employees reach that milestone?

For some, working at a Burger King may be just a summer job. But for David Moon, it’s the key to his independence.
Moon, who has Down syndrome, got his job through the supported employment program at New Horizons, a program that helps people with disabilities find jobs. Moon cleans tables, picks up trash, mops and carries trays for customers. On Wednesday, he’ll celebrate 20 years of working for Burger King.
“I love my job,” he said.
    Gail Staley, Moon’s older sister, said her brother is a “people person” who is dedicated to his job.
    “He helps out, opens doors, carries trays for young mothers,” she said. “Most folks are really friendly to him.”
    Moon, 53, started work at the Burger King on Macon Road, working alongside a trainer until he’d learned the job. He moved to the restaurant on Gentian Boulevard -- which is designed to look like a train station -- after it opened in 1999.
    Lisa Spaeth, a division manager at the restaurant, has known David for about 14 years. She said he always asks for help if he needs it and has regular customers he likes to chat with.
    “David has his favorites that he likes to come and talk to,” she said. “If he’s not here, they always want to know where David’s at.”
    Moon likes to have fun -- he always wants to have a party at Christmas, Spaeth said, and likes to tease her sometimes. “He tries to marry me off to every man he sees,” said Spaeth, who is already married. “I’ll be sitting with a co-worker and he’ll say, ‘You need to marry her.’”
    He has a good memory for some things, like birthdays. He reminds Spaeth of her best friend’s birthday every year. And he’s never forgotten the celebration the restaurant had for his 10th anniversary. He got a gold watch and a hand shake from Marvin Schuster, who operates more than 60 Burger King restaurants through Schuster Enterprises.
    “He’s talked about that ever since,” Spaeth said. “It doesn’t take much to make him happy. I’ve learned a lot from him.”
    When he’s not at work, Moon likes to paint and go bowling. He saves his money and during his two weeks of vacation every year, goes on a trip to Tennessee, Florida or to visit his brother in Spokane, Wash.
    Staley said the supported employment program has helped her brother and other people with disabilities.
    “It gives them independence,” she said. “It’s something that makes life important to them.”
    As for Moon, he’s not ready to retire yet.
    “Maybe after 25 years,” he said.

    Read more here:

    Be gentle.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Friday Smile

    Last weekend, Amy and her two critter buddies, Jack and Piper spent the weekend to help celebrate her brothers birthday.  We always love when Amy comes to visit and wish she was able to come more often.  Her critters are part of the family too.  And both tend to be such entertaining clowns.

    David and I bought Jack a new toy for his next visit with us.  Here he is enjoying his new tire.  Some of the photos are little blurry since Jack moves so fast and was busy shaking and throwing his new toy up in the air.


    Be gentle.

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    World Down Syndrome Day

    World Down Syndrome Day is quickly approaching.  What can you do?

    Here is the  most recent press release.

    PRESS RELEASE - World Down Syndrome Day at the UN - 3/21 - "Building our Future" - Conference to be held at United Nations on 21 March 2012 - Down Syndrome International, 17 February 2012

    Fri, 2012-02-17
    The first United Nations observed World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) will be celebrated at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA, on 21 March 2012 (3/21), with the Conference “Building Our Future”.
    Inclusive education, human rights, political participation, changing society attitudes, independent living, how to work with the media and research are some of the topics that will be discussed.
    See below the current programme:

    World Down Syndrome Day at the UN - 3/21 - “Building Our Future” Conference Room 2 - United Nations Headquarters - New York, USA - 10.00 to 14:30
    10.00 to 10:30 - Opening
    Welcome and Introductions Penny Robertson OAM, Chair of Board, Down Syndrome International (DSi)
    UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon - Message on WDSD (to be confirmed)
    Head of Brazilian and Polish Missions
    Co-sponsor Organisations
    10:30 to 11.00 - UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Inclusion - The Importance of Global Coordination Effort to Socialize the Convention
    Rosangela Berman-Bieler - Senior Adviser on Children with Disabilities, UNICEF
    Penny Robertson - Promoting inclusion in schools in Indonesia
    Shona Robertson - Australia - Self-advocate - My Life...My Education.
    Beatriz Paiva - Brazil - Self-advocate - Carpe Diem Association - Co-author of book on communication accessibility
    11.00 to 11:30 - Human Rights and Political Participation of Self-Advocates
    Daniela Bas - Director of Division for Social Policy and Development (DESA), UN
    Maria Alejandra Villanueva Contreras- Peru - Self-advocate - Fighting for her right to vote
    David Egan - USA - Self-advocate - Lobbying for his rights at the US Congress
    Ester Nadal Tarrago - Spain - Self-advocate who participated on book on the Convention
    11:30 to 12:30 - Changing Society Attitudes - From Neglect and Institutionalization to Protagonist and Living in the Community
    Rose Mordi - Nigeria - President of Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria
    K.S. Sripathi - India - State Chief Information Commissioner, Tamil Nadu Government, Down Syndrome Association of Tamil Nadu
    Jason Kingsley - USA - Self-advocate, Co-author of book “Count Us In: Growing Up With Down Syndrome”
    Emily Perl Kingsley - USA - Mother, writer, activist, author of “Welcome to Holland”
    Tom Forester - USA - Director of Residential Services - Association for Children with Down Syndrome (ACDS), Long Island, NY
    Michael Brennan - USA - ACDS Group Home Resident
    12:30 to 13:00 - The Power of Media - A Guide to Work with the Media to Promote Inclusion
    Michelle Whitten - USA - Global Down Syndrome Foundation - How to get media’s attention in a positive, constructive way
    Patricia Almeida - Brazil - MetaSocial Institute - Brazil’s experience with WDSD and inclusive actions in collaboration with the Media
    Tatiana Heiderich - Brazil/Holland - Self-advocate on her experience as a TV reporter
    13:00 to 14:00 - Care, Treatment and Research - What’s new on the DS front
    Dr. Jose Florez - Director, Mass General Hospital Down Syndrome Clinic; Director, NDSC; Clinical Advisory Board, NDSS
    Dr. Brian Chicoine - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center, Lutheran General Hospital; Scientific Advisory Research Group, DSi
    Dr. Dennis McGuire - Director of Psychosocial Services, Adult Down Syndrome Center, Lutheran General Hospital; Scientific Advisory Research Group, DSi
    Dr. Edward McCabe - Executive Director, Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome
    Margie Doyle - Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF) - Latest on research and how to help studies move faster
    14:00h to 14.30 – Launch:
    1) DSi 2012 WDSD Global Video Event
    2) New WDSD Website
    3) DSi UN Convention Global Outreach Programme
    4) Book “Change the way you speak and I will change my way of
    understanding”- By Carolina Yuki Fijihira, Ana Beatriz Pierre Paiva, Beatriz Ananias Giordano, Carolina de Vecchio Maia, Carolina Reis Costa Golebski, Claudio Aleoni Arruda, Thiago Rodrigues, from Carpe Diem Association, Brazil
    5) Book “The United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities commented by its Protagonists” – By Down España
    14:30 – Closing
    The event is sponsored by the Missions of Brazil and Poland to the UN and organised by Down Syndrome International with the collaboration of the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome (FBASD), Down España, Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), Special Olympics and the UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    Participants from all around the world are welcome, especially those with Down syndrome.
    There is no cost for registration. Confirmation to attend the event can be made by the email to
    Please inform name, email, age, nationality, relation to Down syndrome (self, parent, relative, professional, teacher, student, friend or other-specify), document number (passport, driver’s license, student´s ID), whether you have a disability and what kind and if you need a disability-related accommodation or service.
    Only participants with their names on the list and an ID will be allowed in the building. Space is limited.
    About Down syndrome
    Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socio-economic lines, and affecting approximately 1 in 800 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide. Down syndrome usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues.
    About World Down Syndrome Day
    World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) was established by Down Syndrome International in 2006 and has been observed in over 60 countries worldwide to date. It is held on 21 March (21/3) to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of chromosome 21 which causes the genetic condition.
    The aim of the day is to raise awareness and understanding about Down syndrome, and to promote the inherent rights of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and be active and valuable participants in their communities and society.
    A resolution to designate 21/3 as “World Down Syndrome Day”, to be observed every year beginning in 2012, was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. The resolution was proposed and promoted by Brazil, and co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States. From 2012 onwards, the date will be celebrated by all 192 UN countries. To learn more about the resolution process at the UN, visit


    For further information on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), please visit the DSi website or the WDSD website
    Press Contact:
    Andrew Boys - Tel: 0044 (0)20 8614 5124 Mob: 0044 (0)7810 153294 Email:
    Down Syndrome International -
    Langdon Down Centre, 2A Langdon Park, Teddington, Middlesex, United Kingdom, TW11 9PS.
    Editors Notes:
    • Down Syndrome International (DSi) is a UK based international charity, comprising a membership of individuals and organisations from all over the world, committed to ensuring quality of life and human rights for all people with Down syndrome. Our members include people with Down syndrome, parents, family members and friends, carers, professionals, practitioners, researchers, organisations and people who are interested in Down syndrome.
    • World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day observed on 21 March each year. This date (21/3) represents the 3 copies of chromosome 21, which is unique to people with Down syndrome, and people and organisations worldwide celebrate on this day in a variety of different ways.
    • Down syndrome is a life-long genetic condition from conception. All people with Down syndrome will have some degree of learning disability but many will go on to lead full and semi-independent lives.
    • There is estimated to be up to 7 million people who have Down syndrome living worldwide.
    Please refer to attached Guidance Notes regarding use of terminology.

    Be gentle.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Basketball star. Oh Yeah. He was born with an extra chromosome.

    Awesome basketball star.  No not Jeremy Lin.  But a young man born with Down Syndrome.  He helped his team win the county championship and inspire players and fans alike.

    Read on.........

    Down Syndrome Basketball Player Inspires Tennessee Team

    ht david freeze thg 120221 wblog Down Syndrome Basketball Player Inspires Tennessee Team
    David Andrews plays for his freshman basketball team at Germantown High School outside of Memphis.
    He wears the number 40. He leads the pregame chant. He swishes threes. And he has Down syndrome.
    “Down syndrome people come in wide spectrum of disability,” said Andrews’ father, Charles. “Some are talkers and some are walkers … David is clearly a walker.”
    When Andrews’ mother, Maureen, asked coach Wes Crump if her son could be part of the team that his brother was already on, the coach immediately agreed. But she never expected to see her son practice let alone play.
    “Maureen wasn’t asking for anything other than David maybe getting a sweat suit, team shoes, and for him to be on the bench with the team,” Crump told ABC News.
    What Crump and the team soon realized was that Andrews, 18, was going to have a bigger impact than anyone could have imagined. Andrews started joining practices and during the team’s fourth game he took to the court with the crowd chanting “We want David! We want David!”
    “During the first offensive play, David ran down the left side of the floor into the deep corner. Our point guard pass David the ball, and without hesitating, he shot. Swish!” Crump wrote. “From that game on, it seemed our team had a new goal of getting so far ahead of the other team, that David would have an opportunity to play some minutes.”
    Fortunately for Andrews, the Red Devil’s were more than pretty good. They lost only one game all season and he was able to play quite a bit. David even started a game. And the team won the county championship.
    Crump said Andrews has put the game into perspective for him. One time after he received a technical foul going into halftime, Andrews’ antics during warm ups prior to the second half lifted his mood.
    Andrews was hitting shot after shot from the top of the key and the crowd took notice.
    “The CBHS parents were applauding his every basket,” Crump told ABC News. “David turned to the stands every time they applauded and flexed for them. As I watched that exchange, I realized just how little the game meant, and how much David means to me and to the people who get to be around him. It completely changed my attitude. I sat there and just smiled.”

    Be gentle.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    A few more photos......... Smile

    Uncle Archie sent us a few of the photos he took at Davey and Will's birthday party this weekend  Thank you Uncle Archie!  It was great seeing you, Aunt Janet and Alex,  We need to get together more often!


    Just rocking

    Be gentle

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Do you watch Upstairs Downstairs?

    A lovely actress is now in the cast of BBC's Upstairs Downstairs.

    The actress with Down's syndrome who has earned a milestone role in BBC's Upstairs Downstairs drama

    'Fearless': Sarah Gordy would love to appear in Doctor Who

    Proud: Upstairs Downstairs actress Sarah Gordy with her supportive mother Jane in Medeira. Jane describes herself as a 'mother with claws'
    Proud: Upstairs Downstairs actress Sarah Gordy with her supportive mother Jane in Medeira. Jane describes herself as a 'mother with claws'

    Her character’s reunion with her beloved brother, Sir Hallam, formed the heart-rending finale to the first series of Upstairs Downstairs and provided a stark reminder of the way things were done ‘back then’.
    Hidden away in a mental asylum because her Down’s syndrome would bring shame on the family, Lady Pamela Holland lived a solitary half-life with only her cherished photographs for company.
    Tonight, viewers will see her returned to her rightful home, 165 Eaton Place, as the revival of the BBC drama returns to our screens for a second series.
    Much is riding on the show – there have been inevitable comparisons with Downton Abbey – and it’s hoped that Upstairs Downstairs, like its ITV counterpart, will be commissioned for a third series.
    And no one is hoping that happens more than Sarah Gordy, who plays Lady Pamela. As any actress would be, she is delighted to have a major role on prime-time television, but it also means so much more.
    For Sarah, who, like her character, has Down’s syndrome, this marks a milestone in an already extraordinary career.
    More delicate than she looks  on screen, Sarah is 5ft with pale, twinkly blue eyes, fresh skin and  a smile that enchants everyone she meets. Now in her early 30s and utterly guileless, she does not hide her delight at her newfound stardom.
    ‘It’s great,’ she giggles, sipping on a glass of champagne – her favourite tipple. When she is working away, her mother always keeps an emergency bottle in her suitcase.

    Read more:

    Be gentle.

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Birthday Party for Davey and Will

    Even though it was a little cool and windy, we had a great time at the boys 12th birthday party.  Pizza, games and lots of fun were had by all.

    Be gentle.