Helping children with Down’s Syndrome develop vital life-skills
£20 buys 'My First Makaton Symbols & Signs' set for a family.
Along with all the medical complications, Down's syndrome makes it much harder for children like my son to do the basic things like walking and talking. In addition, he is also deaf. I was feeling pretty desperate about his future until we joined DSL...

9 months later and my son is now crawling and making his first attempts at speaking.

Mel Rosenvinge
  Friends of DSL

Families enjoyed face painting, balloon modelling, and Capoeira at this year’s summer fair.

By Andrea Ingrassia, a DSL parent

Dancers, performers and fire fighters joined DSL’s summer fair.

This year the fair was held at Peckham Rye Playroom on Sunday, 20 July. It was a wonderful family event and helped the profile of the charity’s work in Peckham.

Organized by DSL parents and supported by local businesses, organizations and individuals, the fair represents a unique occasion for us parents to share with the community the amazing work that the charity is doing for our children. And obviously it is a great chance to do some fundraising too.

The weather was good and it did not rain – at least not until the very end.

There were lots of activities and stalls such us face painting, balloon modelling, a bouncy castle, homemade food cooked by the parents, the tombola, a sale of nearly new toys and children’s clothes, a DJ set and music games for children, hook a duck, the Makaton Competition for parents with signing guru Mike Harris (Thank you Mike!) and a raffles with lots of prizes.

We had some special guests who entertained all participants with group dancing and performances: Luigi from EOS Dance with dance music, Milly, Esther and Patrizia from Ann Bernadt CC with Zumba and Ramya from Ivydale CC with Capoeira. Thanks to them all.

And we also had a special visit from the local fire-fighters with a real fire engine! What a hit!

In total we raised an amazing £1,850.

This is why we would like to thank all the people who made the Fair such a great success: Shelley and Kausar for face painting, Riccardo and Peppino the Djs, James the Balloon Master, Michelle for the help and support throughout the event, Ezref and his wife for the delicious cakes.

Thanks also to Ivydale Children’s Centre for the venue and the bouncy castle and to all parents and sponsors who donated prizes for the tombola and the raffle: Caterina, Pianna, Rosana, Sam, and Veronica from DSL, Michelle from EOS Dance, JoJo Maman Bebe, KuKi Air, AG Flower, Health Matters, Celestial, FC Sopers, and Cheese Block .

Zumba Girls in Action

Arts and Crafts

Fire brigade in action
And last but not least, thank you to all the DSL families who contributed to the event, and all of you who came, making this day so special. We hope to see you all next year!

DSL parents raised £35,000 in a 21km sponsored walk.

By Mel Rosenvinge, a DSL parent

On Saturday 22nd of March 2014, to coincide with Down’s Awareness week, we organised a 21 kilometre walk along the Thames from Kingston-Upon-Thames to Putney Bridge.

The distance was chosen as a tongue in cheek reference to chromosome 21, which children like my son Zac have three copies of. More than 70 of us took part in the walk and many more came to celebrate with us at the end.

The walk began at the Swan Inn in Hampton Wick and passed the Langdon Down Museum, the home and institution developed by Dr John Langdon Down, where a revolutionary and enlightened approach was developed for the care of people with learning disabilities, and ended at the Duke’s Head.

Over 70 Walkers took part in the inagural DSL walk

T-shirts and leaflets were produced for the day to publicise DSL and many people raised more awareness by highlighting the event on Facebook and signing up friends and colleagues as sponsors.

It was a glorious spring day and the amount raised was staggering, but my greatest memory is of the wonderful sense of community.

It was truly empowering to see how many friends and family came along to support us and how generously people donated. In fact it was such a success that we are planning another event next year. Watch this space…

Have your say about our services in Down’s South London’s Parental and Carers’ Survey.

By Zaza Curan, a DSL parent

Down’s South London is committed to continually improving the services it provides to children with Down’s Syndrome and their parents and families. As part of our work to improve the therapies and the organisations, we conduct an annual Parental and Carers’ Survey to get direct feedback on the impact the therapies are having on the children and families who attend the sessions.

Recent surveys have gathered valuable information on what parents feel they have gained from the DSL therapies, with 100% of respondents feeling that it’s a ‘specialist service’ and many supporting its ‘combined (holistic) therapy package‘ (92% of respondents).

The majority of parents and carers who responded to last year’s survey felt that their child had made ‘exceptional improvements in communication and levels of alertness’, with many saying there had been ‘significant improvements to their children’s physical strength and coordination’.

We have taken on board the areas where parents have seen less progress and the therapists have worked to build on the package available to children to ensure it gets better every year.

We have had a good rate of response from parents and carers in the past – but this can always be improved so we are looking for an even better response rate this year!

Group therapy session

Visual stimulus learning

The next survey will be published shortly and we would like to ask all parents and carers whose children access the DSL therapies to take part by 14 November.

We take this survey very seriously – and our actions are only as good as the responses we get – so please take the time to complete it. While we welcome feedback at any time, the survey is a very important way for us to find out what is working well for you and where things could be improved. This is your chance to Have Your Say!

DSL narrowly missed out on first place in the Lloyds Community Fund ballot in October.

By Brendan O'Malley, a DSL parent

The Community Fund awards are allocated according to an online vote on which causes should be championed. DSL was shortlisted for a Community Fund award, where the top allocation is £3,000.

After 1,923 votes cast for charities in Camberwell, DSL came second in Camberwell with 32.2% narrowly behind Ronald McDonald House (33.4%). This means DSL has been awarded £2,000. ALD life came third (19.2%) and was awarded £1,000 and Southwark Young Carers came fourth (15.1%), awarded £500.

Gun Akyuz, DSL chair, said: “A big thank you to all those who voted, tweeted and shared on Facebook with their family and friends.”

The voting took place between 2 September and 10 October online, via Titter and SMS votes, as well as at Lloyds branches.

Nationally, during the public vote, nearly 1.5 million votes were cast across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands for some 1,400 good causes in 350 communities, giving them a chance to promote themselves and earn some funding.

Downs South London, Registered Charity 1123045.     Registered company number: 6381649.
59 Lyndhurst Grove, London SE15 5AW.