People with Down syndrome who are nonverbal, or who have poor articulation, can have reduced prospects for an independent life. As children, they can be socially and educationally isolated from typical peers. As adults, they may have limited potential for employment. But individuals with Down syndrome who are verbal and have good articulation can have greater prospects for a self-directed life with enriching opportunities. A quality speech therapy program can help make this difference.
To help our children -- and adults -- fulfill their potential to speak, and speak more clearly, DSACT launched a Speech Therapy Program in January 2015. Our program is low-cost and open to individuals with Down syndrome in the Central Texas area who, with a family member, meet eligibility criteria. Funding for this program has been made available by DSACT, the RGK Foundation, Children's Special Needs Network, and the Austin Community Foundation.
We provide group therapy to people with Down syndrome ages 4-adult, working in therapy groups of five participants. In addition to our Returning Enrollees who participated in 2016, we plan to enroll up to 15 New Enrollees in 2017. Participants will need to be able to focus on therapy work, remain seated for a therapy session, behave compliantly, and be non-verbal or need improvement in speech clarity. For each participant, one family member must commit to attend the monthly therapy sessions, and follow-through with therapy homework between sessions.
How to apply for the 2017 program
If you’re unsure whether your family member with Down syndrome could benefit from this program, here’s a simple test: Can he or she order a meal from a waiter in a restaurant and be clearly understood without your help? If not, this program could be a big step on the road to independence!
The deadline to apply for the 2017 program and submit an Eligibility Form is Wednesday, November 30th at 5pm. Applicants will be notified during the first half of December 2016 whether you have been initially accepted into the Program and a Family History Form will be sent to you to complete at that time. (Final acceptance will be made following a speech evaluation in January.)
Questions? Call the DSACT office at 512-323-0808 or email us at email@example.com.
2017 Program Dates
1st year participants:
Initial Meeting: Region 13, Saturday, January 7th
Evaluations: January 21st, April 22nd, October 14th
Treatments: February 4th, February 18th, March 4th, March 18th, April 8th, May 13th, July 15th, August 12th,
September 9th, November 11th, December 9th
2nd year participants:
Evaluations: April 29th, October 28th
Treatments: January 28th, February 25th, March 25th, May 20th, August 26th, September 23rd, November 18th, December 9th
3rd year participants:
Evaluations: June 10th
Treatments: June 24th, July 8th, August 5th (check-in)
The DSACT Speech Therapy program will need volunteers for a few hours, 1-2 times a month on a Saturday to assist in child directed play, preparing the space for instruction, as well as aiding families with challenging behaviors. The program will be conducted at Speak Freely, which is a private practice in south Austin. No experience is required other than the love of children! If you are interested in volunteering, please sign-up by clicking here, SIGN-UP GENIUS.