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February 2022 Edition
Kia ora koutou

It's almost Autumn, how did that happen?! Welcome to this edition of the WDSA newsletter - this one's a bumper with World Down Syndrome Day coming up, plus so many courses, workshops and resources to make you all aware of!

 

Drop us a line, committee@wdsa.co.nz, if you have suggestions for this newsletter or ideas that might enable us to better support you as a community.

Ngā mihi
Selena and the WDSA Committee
My name is Ruth and I am the Fundraiser and Hutt Valley New Parent Contact. My partner (fiance), Callum, and I have 3 busy boys - Alex (8), Ben (6) and Liam (4)!! 

After we attended our first WDSA event when Liam was about 6 months old, I knew I wanted to help out with the Committee. It wasn't long before Deborah (Jones, past committee member) had twisted my rubber arm to join. I have always loved fundraising and helping out with things that are important to me so it was an easy choice. Plus I love to get creative!! 

Liam brings so much joy, and a bit more chaos, to our family. He is quite the little adventurer - he's at kindy 4 days a week and most of the time you will find him in the sand pit, water somewhere or climbing something!!  Liam also loves to join in with whatever his big brothers are up to!! He makes himself well known at all their sports games, and always gets a smile or laugh wherever we go. Liam starts school next year so things like Early Intervention and private speech therapy (thanks to
UpsideDowns) have been a very important part of our lives. Helping his development has been a great start for what we hope to be an independent future and the connections we have made along the way have been so important on this journey. 

I have been on the Committee for about 3 years now and love so much about our community and all our supporters. I have been very lucky to be able to help and attend the last 3 Frances Clarke Memorial Awards and the 2021 NZDSA National Achievement Awards. Nothing quite beats getting together and celebrating someone's success!! I've also loved getting to meet new families and offer support where I can (including giving out our great new parent packs!). COVID has restricted meeting in person lately but I am always available via
email or Messenger for new families. Hopefully we can all catch up for a cuppa again soon!! 

Please consider helping out with our committee in anyway you can. We would love to hear your ideas!!
We're on the hunt for a stellar Administrator to be the first port of call for the WDSA! 

The Administrator's role is to help organise events, liaise with families and keep the WDSA membership database up-to-date, apply for grants and generally help us keep our 'house' in order. 

The position is 10 hours per week and salary is negotiable depending on experience. If you're keen to find out more, get in touch.

We're still on the hunt for people to fill the following roles too:
 
  • Wairarapa Rep
  • Wellington (or Wairarapa) Rep for the NZDSA
  • Down Syndrome Rep
  • Tech Support

The time commitment is only 2-3 hours a month - we're a small committee and really need the extra help so please consider lending your time and expertise if you can.
Wellington Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

If you didn't see it earlier this month, we're busting out our crazy socks for World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) on 21 March.

Help fundraise for the Wellington Down Syndrome Association by encouraging your workplaces, schools, preschools and other community groups to wear colourful, mismatched socks on the 21st (like our kids' extra chromosome) and donate a gold coin to the cause. Here's a sample poster you could use.

WDSD is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. You can read all about it at worlddownsyndromeday.org. NZDSA will be marking the occasion with an online 'Big Connect' event at 7pm on the 21st. Follow NZDSA on Facebook for more information. 

We're also running a colouring competition to celebrate! Anyone is welcome to enter and we'll have four age groups: 5 and under; 6-10; 12-16; over 16. There will be one major prize per age group and smaller spot prizes for Runner Ups!
 
Leaping Lizards
Leaping Lizards "Rising Above" Special Needs Dance Class has moved to a Saturday. You can join in the fun at 11am in Churton Park each week. Rising Above is a mixture of Leaping Lizards' 'Bop & Hop', 'Hip Hop' and 'Jazz' classes but slower and calmer to allow for each child's uniqueness. Find out more at leaping-lizards.co.nz.

Dance Jam
If you're out Upper Hutt way, JT's Dance Jam is a dance fitness class for all who love music and movement. Trial a class for free, from there it's only $5 a class. Follow JT's Dance Jam on Facebook for more.
ADSA Success in Schools Course
This course is not to be missed. If you have a child starting school soon, or already at school, this excellent course from the Auckland Down Syndrome Association is for you. It's aimed at anyone supporting children with Down syndrome or any kids who learn differently. Due to COVID, ASDA will be moving the course online and anyone can register! 

WDSA is offering any of its members who wish to attend this course a further subsidised rate to do so. Email committee@wdsa.co.nz for more information.

9am-2pm
7 & 8 March
 

Register here.

~*~

‘Foundations of a Good Life’ – 3 Part Zoom Series
This series of events, hosted by Imagine Better, will explore some of the fundamental elements required for a good life, sharing proven strategies, tools and approaches that support people with disabilities to get the good (or better) life they want.

WDSA is offering any of its members who wish to attend this course a further subsidised rate to do so. Email committee@wdsa.co.nz for more information.

7.30pm-9.30pm
Wednesday 23 March, 30 March & 6 April

To find out more, click here.

~*~

FREE Workshop - Sexuality & Intellectual Disability
Family Planning are offering this free workshop for whānau and caregivers that focuses on what whānau and guardians can do to support their loved ones in their sexual and reproductive wellbeing. 
The workshop will be 1.5 hours long and will be held across multiple dates:

6pm, 1 March
7pm, 4 May
6pm, 20 July
7pm, 5 September
6pm, 3 November


Register at familyplanning.org.nz.

~*~

FREE Parent to Parent IEP Course: Education, Disability and your Child
Parent to Parent are holding online Zoom workshops to help guide parents and caregivers of children with learning support needs through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process. Information provided will give tips on how to have productive IEP meetings, how to foster inclusion in the classroom and what types of funding are available to support learning. Thanks to Care Matters NZ for providing the funding to make this course completely free of charge!

7 March, 10.30am-1pm - Hosted by P2P Nelson
14 March, 10.30am-1pm - Hosted by P2P Northland


Register here.
Autism Aspergers Digest
The latest issue of the Autism Aspergers Digest (August-October 2021) is available through the IHC Library free of charge. This US journal is published four times a year, it is written in clear, non-technical language by experts in the field of autism and sensory issues. This issue includes articles on:
  • Adjusting to life after lockdown
  • How to speak positively to children with sensory processing disorder and autism
  • How to make the maximize the visual skills of people with autism
  • The pros and cons of COVID vaccination for people with autism
  • Homeownership: a future planning perspective

Contact the IHC Librarian to find out more.
  • Join the NZDSA's online 'Big Connect' to mark World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March at 7pm. Follow NZDSA on Facebook for more information.
     
  • Miss the beautiful and talented Libby Hunsdale in Poppy? View it online now, TVNZ OnDemand
     
  • We've placed a hold on the Frances Clarke Memorial Awards for the time being. Interested in a virtual Awards event instead or rather we hold off until we're back at Orange? Email through your vote now
THANKS FOR READING!
The WDSA Committee is made up entirely of volunteers.
We'd love to connect with members of the community who can spare a few hours to help here and there. If that sounds like you, sign up to our Friends of the Committee Facebook group.
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