Down Syndrome Ireland is dedicated to being the primary source of information and support to people with Down syndrome, their families and the professional community, working towards an improved quality of life for our members along with a respect and acceptance of people with Down syndrome as valued members of Irish society.
Welcome to the website of Down Syndrome Ireland, Waterford Branch.
DSI Waterford & South Kilkenny Branch is a support group for people with Down Syndrome and their families in Waterford and South Kilkenny, Ireland.
Our Branch is run entirely by volunteers – parents, siblings, relatives and other kind people who have an interest in helping to improve the lives of people with DS.
We work to help people with Down Syndrome reach their full potential by providing information and support to them, their families, carers and professionals.
To achieve our aim, we have a three-pronged approach:
A. Education and activities for our members with DS,
B. Providing a support network for their families, and
C. Raising awareness of Down Syndrome among professionals and the public.
A. DSI Waterford Branch – Members Education and Activities
The branch strives to facilitate and support a variety of social, educational, and life enhancing activities for our members with Down Syndrome.
Our Branch is proud to provide the following Educational courses for our members and their families:
1. Latch On Literacy course,
2. MOTE course (My Opinion My Vote), and
3. Work Skills Course
4. Personal Development Courses
5. Lámh Courses
Our Branch runs a broad range of activities for our members including:
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Therapeutic Horseriding
- Cycling Lessons
- Swimming Lessons
- Music & Movement Classes
- Keep Fit Classes
- Cookery classes
- Computer classes
- Social occasions
- Traces Dance Ensemble
- Summer Days Out
- Christmas Parties
- Chillax – social gatherings for teenagers and adults
- Counselling and Support services for our members and their families
- Our members are actively involved in the development and maintenance of our website. This includes a social networking area with exclusive access to the members themselves
The Branch runs a number of activities for our members; but our members also take part in a wide range of other therapeutic and life-enhancing activities on an individual basis, which are extremely beneficial to them such as private Occupational Therapy, Fitness classes and Art classes. To help support our members with these private activities, we have set up a Members Funding scheme where families can get some financial support from the branch. This scheme is reviewed annually. The branch also co-operates with and supports local Arch Clubs where possible.
B. DSI Waterford Branch – Support Network for Families
The Branch provides support for parents and siblings of members with Down syndrome, in a variety of ways;
- Parentlink – Hospital visits for new families by a parent trained in support.
- Parent support – many of our children with DS have health, behavioural, development, feeding issues. We put parents in touch with each other for chat, advice and support.
- We provide information about health, education, independence, and advocacy issues to families and to professionals
- We hold Regular branch meetings with Guest Speakers on relevant topics
- The branch has growing library of books, DVDs, and computer software about Down Syndrome, Education, Health and Advocacy available for our use by the members. A catalogue of this collection will be made available to all the members of the branch, and members can request to have specific resources added. The national office also houses a substantial library of resources in Dublin.
- We recognise that siblings play an important part in the growth and development of our DS members. Equally we strive to support siblings as and when required. We therefore encourage siblings take part in as many of our activities as possible. These include activities, family days out, and the Christmas party.
C. DSI Waterford Branch – Awareness Raising
Awareness raising is extremely important to maintain a high profile for the organisation for the purposes of fundraising, but also to foster positive attitudes amongst the general public and professionals towards people with Down Syndrome. Some of our awareness raising activities includes;
- Maintaining this website, and a presence on Facebook
- Arranging photo opportunities in the local media to raise awareness of the Branch
- Collating and sending on of photographs and members news for the DSI National Magazine
- Liaising with HSE, TDs etc. on relevant issues – In the past year we successfully had SLT reinstated to the two special schools in Waterford city.
- We send delegates to National Executive Council meetings, which means that Waterford & South Kilkenny are represented nationally