Improving the quality of life of individuals with Down syndrome.


HDSA Swimming Lessons

Apr 11, 2016


We are excited to announce that we will be offering swimming lessons this spring for our New Parent Group. Lessons will run on Sunday mornings starting April 24th and will run until June 12th.

They will take place at the Milton Leisure Centre (1100 Main street East between Thompson Road and James Snow Parkway).
Lessons will be broken down into two classes. One class will be for children 4 months to 3 years old  (parent and tot class) and will run from 10:30 am to 11:00 am.  The second class will be for 3 to 4 year olds (preschool class) and will run from 11:00 am to 11:30 am
This is a free program for our HDSA members. Please note that at this time because space is limited it will be a first come, first serve availability and siblings will not be able to join. 

Please contact Karen Madeira at with the name of your child and phone number if you are interested in having your child attend. Those interested will also need to register their family with Milton Recreation to obtain a pin and bar code, the link is provided below:  
Looking forward to it!

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HDSA/DSRF Part-Time Teaching Opportunity

Halton Down Syndrome Association, in partnership with the Down Syndrome Research Foundation, has an opportunity for a part-time teaching position. Please see below for the job ad and please distribute to any teachers you know who may be interested!


Teacher Part-Time – Halton Down Syndrome Association
Halton Down Syndrome Association (HDSA), in partnership with the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF), has an opportunity for a talented teacher with a passion for making a difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome. We are looking for a part-time teacher who can implement a new individual reading program in the Halton Region. The one-to-one program is designed to promote reading skill acquisition and development of young children (ages 3-6).
HDSA is a preferred source of support and knowledge for families of children with Down syndrome (Ds). With over 30 years of experience, HDSA is highly equipped to understand the Ds community and deliver programs that meet their needs.
DSRF is a unique learning centre in Burnaby, B.C. that offers one-to-one reading programs, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy for students of all ages, as well as small group adult programs for students transitioning from high school. Their programs benefit from onsite research and regular review of advances in the research and clinical community.
A university degree in education and Ontario Certification is required.  Experience working with people who have special needs is an asset. An interest in continual learning, the ability to be creative and innovative, and a positive, energetic personality are key attributes that are necessary to bring to the students. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in advancing their knowledge in the field of special education, as you will enjoy collaboration with other teachers, speech and language therapists and research professionals.
The successful candidate must clear a criminal record search (with Vulnerable Sector Screening). This position is currently for 15-20 hours/week in the afternoons, evenings and/or weekends starting in September 2016.  There will be one week paid training in Burnaby, B.C., the week of July 11th, and team meetings via video or telephone conferencing with the DSRF throughout the year.  Candidates must be flexible and willing to commit to a three year contract. Hourly rate ranges from $20-$30/hour and is commensurate with experience.
Interested candidates please forward your resume to Lori Sheppard, HDSA Director of Development, at by Monday, April 18th, 2016. We thank all who express interest in this position, but will be contacting short listed candidates only by Friday, April 22nd, 2016.  
Visit our websites at and to learn more about our organizations

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2016 Canadian Down Syndrome Society Conference
May 27-29th, Montreal, Quebec

This annual conference is a great opportunity for parents and VIP's to connect, educate themselves and others, and celebrate all persons living with Down syndrome! 

An exciting lineup of speakers and workshops awaits. Please visit the website here to see what is being offered this year. The Earlybird registration deadline is April 29th. The cost is $290 for CDSS Members and $340 for non-CDSS members.  

In the past HDSA has provided 5 bursaries of $1000.00 each to support families and individuals to attend this conference. Because the location is closer this year and we anticipate more people wanting to go, we are offering 10 bursaries of $500.00 each this year. Bursaries may go towards registration costs, travel, or accommodation. 

Interested members in good standing must submit their names to Kim Wentrot at by Sunday, April 24th at 11:59 pm.  If eligible you will be notified by Tuesday, April 26th.

Please review some of the Bursary guidelines below:
VIP Applicants:

  • VIP members (High School Age & Graduate) will automatically be approved to a maximum of 50% of the total bursaries available for each of the Provincial, National, and International conferences. 
  • If there are more VIP member applicants than available bursaries, priority will be given to those who have not received a conference bursary within the previous 12 months. 
  • If there are still more applicants than bursaries, available bursaries shall be awarded by drawing from the eligible VIP member applicants. 

Member Applicants:

If the number of member applicants is greater than the number of available bursaries: 

  • Those who have already attended a conference in the previous 12 months will be removed from the list of eligibility 
  • Available bursaries will be awarded by drawing from the names of the remaining eligible member applicants. 
  • If all member applicants have attended a conference in the previous 12 months, all will be eligible for the draw. 

If the number of available bursaries is greater than the number of applicants, the partner of a current applicant may also apply. An email notification will be issued once the deadline for applications has passed.


If both partners attend a national or international conference, the applicant will receive 100% of the amount allotted for the designated bursary and the partner will receive 50% of the amount allotted for the designated bursary.

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Handwriting Without Tears

May 14th, 9:00-4:00pm

Halton Down Syndrome Association is pleased to offer the opportunity to learn an easy to teach, easy to learn curriculum that makes printing mastery joyful for children, parents and their teachers.

Research supports the active teaching of handwriting. Recent findings demonstrate that writing by hand improves creative writing skills and fine motor skills. In fact, elementary students have been found to write more and faster by hand than when keyboarding.

In this one-day workshop you will learn new ways to enhance children's well-being and school readiness.

Members and Non-Members of HDSA are welcome to attend and non-members are welcome to become members of HDSA to take advantage of the reduced rate for the workshop.

Cost is $100.00 for Non-Members and $50.00 for Members and includes workshop, lunch and educational materials.

This event is designed to teach adults.  We ask that you please do not bring children to this workshop.

This course is heavily subsidized by HDSA as part of our community education programs.

Click here to purchase tickets and for more information

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Safety Village Trip

Mar 06, 2016


Safety Village Trip

Hi everyone,

The Elementary Age Peer Group invites you to join us for a trip to Halton Safety Village on Saturday April 2nd, 2016 from 10AM until 12PM.  Safety Village is located at 1151 Bronte Road, in Oakville.  There will be a lesson on pedestrian safety taught by Officer Cindy followed by a safety scavenger hunt in the cute little village afterwards.  We will also be serving a pizza lunch for all children and parents that attend.  Please contact Sarah with any dietary restrictions.

Officer Cindy has created a differentiated presentation that is appropriate for a wide age range which includes videos and a visual supports.  For this reason, we will open the presentation up to members of the New Parent Group that have children who are entering Kindergarten in September 2016.  

Remember to bring a camera!  The mini-village is a great backdrop for some cute photos!  The kids will love the atmosphere!  It should be a fun and informative morning!


Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Please RSVP by Saturday March 19th, 2016.

Please contact to reserve your spot or with any questions or concerns.

Hope to see you there!

Sarah & Laurie
Elementary Age Group Coordinators

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St. John Ambulance Parent Workshop

Please join the New Parent group for a St. John Ambulance Workshop in April!

LOCATION: 468 Morden Road, Suite #2 Oakville, ON L6K 3W4
DATE: Saturday, April 16

TIME: 9 am - 12 pm (please arrive 15 minutes prior)

  • This is an adults only class, no childcare is provided.
  • SJA is a 'scent-free' environment.

REGISTRATION: To register please e-mail Mandy Ulcar at with the subject line SJA PARENT WORKSHOP no later than Monday April 4, 2016.

Similar to the New Parent Workshop, this course will focus more directly on children with Down syndrome, and some common challenges our kids face.  Topics will cover choking, burns, hazards, breaks etc plus CPR. This is a non-certified course with plenty of time for Q&A and hands-on CPR practice!

COURSE FEE of $50 is covered by HDSA. Cancellations must be notified 1 week prior.

Read more about SJA courses here: Descriptions/Family-Children-Youth.aspx

This class requires a minimum of 10 registrants to run.  Maximum participants is 18

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Gymnastics Registration Open!

HDSA Elementary Group is excited to be offering a FREE 6 week session of Gymnastics at Schlegel's Gymnastics in Oakville. This little gym is staffed by wonderful, caring coaches who have extensive experience working with children with special needs.

Dates: Friday April 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, May 6th, 13th
Time: 4:15-5:15pm
Location: Schlegel's Gym (220 Wyecroft Rd, Unit 22, Oakville)

We are aiming to make this an unparented program. Along with the coaches from Schlegel's, there will be volunteers on hand to assist the children. Parents are more than welcome to attend with their children, or volunteer to assist with the program in general. 

PLEASE NOTE: In order for your child to participate, for insurance purposes, either a doctor's note stating that your child is permitted to participate in gymnastics (it must specifically say this) or a copy of the Atlanto Axial Dislocation  X-ray report is required. You will need to bring this note or report to the first session. If you have previously submitted this information to Schlegel's for another session, you do not have to re-submit.

To register your child, please complete the following:
1) Registration Form - Under "Season" put Spring 2016, and under "Program" put HDSA. Leave the section about payment details blank.
2) Waiver 
3) Indicate whether or not you plan to participate with your child, whether you would like a volunteer to assist your child, or whether you think your child is independent enough to participate on his/her own.

Please email the above information to Laurie Mendoza by March 1st.

*This time block has in the past been offered to ErinOak and has been run for children with a variety of special needs. Schlegel's has offered us this time slot as it is not currently running a program with ErinOak. HDSA has agreed to welcome other children who have previously done the ErinOak program into our session. There may be up to 6 children included. This will NOT impact our numbers or the coach to student ratio.

We hope to see you and your child there! Feel free to contact either of us with any questions or concerns.

Laurie and Sarah

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