MDSC Masthead
September 27, 2012 | No. 12
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MDSC to Reach More Med Students


We are pleased to announce the launch of a recent collaboration between the MDSC and The Arc of Massachusetts on Operation House Call, a unique program that for the past two decades has taught disability awareness to medical students throughout the Commonwealth.


Under OHC, a parent of a child with special needs informs students about best practices and sensitivities when caring for a patient with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD). Then, through clinical instruction, the students meet a person with I/DD and their family in a non-acute care setting. In addition, medical students go in pairs for a 2-hour home visit, where a host family opens their home and shares their personal story.


The partnership will enable Operation House Call to strengthen its program. Through its health care research in 2008, The Arc found that many adults with I/DD in Massachusetts remain with their pediatricians. OHC is crucial because it sets the foundation for health clinicians to feel comfortable providing care for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities. See our press release in the Burlington Union here and visit our OHC webpage for more information. 

Facilitator Position Available at MDSC


The MDSC is seeking a part-time Teen and Adult Programs Facilitator to assist us on projects and tasks managed by the Program Coordinator, including the Advocates in Motion (AIM) Program and the Annual Conference for Self-Advocates. The position is 10 hrs./week at our Burlington office with some evening and weekend hours. 


See our Job Posting on Idealist for complete information. 

Early Bird in Effect for Ed. Conference


Early Bird rates are in effect for our upcoming inaugural Northeast Down Syndrome Education Conference on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1, 2012 at the Marriott in Burlington, Mass. 


The MDSC is proud to partner with Down Syndrome Education International (DSEI), the leading experts in Down syndrome education, to hold the inaugural "Northeast Down Syndrome Education Conference." Registration is now open. 




The two-day in-depth Education Conference will include intensive training over 2 days for general and special education teachers, teaching assistants, educational/school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, early intervention therapists, administrators and other health and education professionals. The tracks are also suitable for parents looking for more detailed information.


For complete information, visit our website page and look for updates on our Facebook page.  


Speaker Series to Tackle Bullying


On Tuesday Oct. 2 at 10:00pm, as part of its Allen Crocker Speaker Series, the Boston Children's Hospital Down Syndrome Program is featuring Leslie Hughes from Mass. Advocates for Children who will present a lecture on bullying. 


Ms. Hughes' lecture is titled, "The Massachusetts Anti-bullying Law: IEP and Schoolwide Strategies to Prevent Bullying of Students with Disabilities"  


This free talk will be held at the Folkman Auditorium at Children's Hospital. You can attend in person, by live stream from home or by recording later. Check out this webpage for complete details on the Crocker Speaker Series, including upcoming speakers and archives.  


The Allen C. Crocker Speaker Series honors the legacy of Dr. Crocker and is designed for parents and families members seeking quality information from experts on a range of topics related to Down syndrome. All talks are free.

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Volunteer for the MDSC Today 


The AIM: Teen and Young Adult Program wouldn't be possible without the help of wonderful volunteers! We are especially looking for youth volunteers (16-25) that can serve as peer role models for program participants. There are many ways you can help out as a volunteer, including: 

  • participate in activities alongside youth participants
  • lead small group games and discussions
  • be a 1-on-1 buddy for a participant who might need a little extra attention
Click here to learn more and get involved today.
Bowling & Pizza for Brothers & Sisters  


Are you a brother or sister of someone with Down syndrome? Are you between the ages of 11 and 18? Are you looking for an opportunity to meet other siblings who just get what it's like?


If you answered yes to these three questions, join us on Sunday, October 14, 2012 from 11am-2pm at Town Line Bowling, 665 Broadway in Malden for free bowling, pizza and fun. Questions and RSVP to Sam Stark, MDSC Brother/Sister LEAD Facilitator at or call 781-221-0024 by October 12th, 2012

Dear Member    

Once again, Governor Patrick has signed an official proclamation making next month Down Syndrome Awareness Month in Massachusetts
What better way to celebrate than coming to Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield the very first weekend of October to join a community of thousands at our 16th Annual Buddy Walk & Family Picnic? 
As in past years, the pristine surroundings will come alive on this special day with the sounds of families coming together, old friends catching up, new friends being made and the energy of people having flat-out fun. There'll be kids music, face-painting, balloon artists, magicians, a fire truck to climb on, and much more. Heather Hegedus of Fox25 Boston (below) will be our emcee. 
Top Tier Performers to Act, Sing, Jump & Dance at 16th Buddy Walk
This year, we proudly welcome true top-tier performers to our main stage at our Buddy Walk. This includes: 
Actress Lauren Potter
Headlining is Lauren Potter, the actress with Down syndrome who plays Becky Jackson, captain of the Cheerios Cheerleading squad, on Glee, and a recent appointee to President Obama's Commission on Intellectual Disabilities. She is adored by millions (including all of us at the MDSC) for her acting, but she is so much more. She will be speaking on stage and greeting fans. See here for our look at "Who is Lauren Potter?" 
Singer Ayla Brown
Singing star Ayla Brown (above) returns for her 4th Buddy Walk this year, and she just keeps getting better. For the first time ever, she's bringing to the Buddy Walk a full 5-piece band, a trove of new songs from a soon-to-be-released album, and news that her self-titled album released in April remains high on the Billboard charts. This week, it's #56 in the Northeast! 
Yeager, the Award-Winning Canine
Yeager, the 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, performs internationally on the DockDogs circuit and holds the world record for Extreme Vertical Leap at 8'4". He and some of his canine buddies will be doing some tricks for the crowd. See our Yeager profile here. 

The Boston Ballet's Adaptive Dance Class
Watch what happens when remarkable individuals with Down syndrome team up with the world-class Boston Ballet (photo below). Developed a decade ago, the Boston Ballet's Adaptive Dance Program is a successful and unique joint venture between Boston Ballet and the Department of Physical Therapy, Children's Hospital, Boston. 
Our 16th Annual Buddy Walk is an occasion you don't want to miss, whether you are looking to network, celebrate your loved one with Down syndrome, or just have a great time in a warm, welcoming, open-hearted community.
Sen. Kerry Signs on to ABLE Act; Huge Victory for Bill and for Mass.

Great news, we just learned that Sen. John Kerry, who had been the only holdout among our state's 12-member Congressional delegation, signed on to the ABLE Act, the critical legislation that promises to allow people with disabilities to maintain greater control of their savings. (Learn more about the ABLE Act here.)


Sen. Kerry's support is a tremendous victory for one of the top priority bills on our national platform. It means that Massachusetts now presents a united front in support of this key national policy priority. There is no question about where we stand. 
Perhaps even more important is the former Democratic presidential nominee's position and stature in the legislature. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Kerry is in a powerful position and his support bodes well for ultimate passage. Be sure to thank Sen. Kerry and all your federal legislators for their support. Go to here to get their contact information. 


Special thanks to Laura Noble, John Anton and the Legislative Advocacy Task Force for their ongoing efforts to advocate for the ABLE Act.  (Please stop by the Legislative Advocacy table at our Buddy Walk to learn more about this and other policy initiatives.)


It is your support for the MDSC at our Buddy Walk and other events and campaigns throughout the year that allow us to advocate staunchly and effectively for initiatives like the ABLE Act that will have a long-lasting, positive impact on people with Down syndrome and other disabilities not only here in Massachusetts but throughout the country. 

Sports Desk: Strap on Your Ice Skates & Tie Your Sneakers for the MDSC


Whether you like to hit the pavement or the ice, you can do either this winter for a good cause -- the acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. We have spots available for two unbelievable events: 


Boston Bruins vs. MDSC All Stars on Nov. 18

Play hockey against Boston Bruins greats at our 8th Annual MDSC All Stars Hockey Benefit at the New

 England Sports Center in Marlboro. Every November, two dozen players on the MDSC All Star team, many of whom have a loved one with Down syndrome, sharpen their skates to face-off against Bruins greats of yesteryear. Friends of the MDSC fill the stands to cheer their team to victory (we hope!) in this annual grudge match.


Last year, for the first time we opened spots for players ages 12-16 (parental consent to play, fundraising required). If you are interested in playing or would like to learn more, visit our Boston Bruins Partnership page and email


Boston Marathon on April 15

Now is the time to make that commitment that you will remember for a lifetime! Start training now to run the 117th Boston Marathon next Patriots Day, and do it for a good cause - to support people with Down syndrome.  


Led by Coach Susan Hurley of CharityTeams, each team member accomplishes a monumental feat, completing the grueling 26.2 mile course. Through the John Hancock Charity program, the MDSC has 8 spots this year for non-qualified runners. Qualified runners can also run in support of the MDSC. Doing so will raise significant awareness and funds to directly support our programs and services. For complete information, visit our Race for MDSC page. To apply, email

'Advocates In Motion' Year Kicks Off


AIM's Teen & Young Adult Program is gearing up for another year of fun, inclusive, interactive events each month for teens and young adults ages 13 to 22. AIM members typically meet up one Sunday each month during the school year at the Newton YMCA for an exploratory workshop and physical fitness activity. 


Parent educational sessions are also offered during each Sunday event. Additional youth social outings and MDSC events are held throughout the year.


Join us Sunday, September 30th from 12:30-3:30pm for our first event of the year! We will spend the afternoon getting to know one another through games and activities and end the day with a Zumba session led by our friend, Logan Reckert! See our Calendar of Events here. Contact Colleen Endres, Program Coordinator, at or 781-221-0024 x207. 



Hoop It Up for Down Syndrome


Hula Hooping never felt so good as it will at this great event, the proceeds of which will go to the MDSC and our critical programs. 


On Sunday, Sept. 30, Join Team Dylan's MDSC 'Buddy Walk' Team as they "Hoop It Up" for Down Syndrome Awareness. You can try a Hoop Class, enter a raffle, buy homemade baked goods and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. 


Hoop classes will be taught by nurse/wellness director/personal trainer Laura Collins. The talented Mister Vic will provide music for the kids. All to Benefit "Team Dylan" (Dylan pictured above) and other people with Down syndrome. At Haskell Field, Sudbury from 10 a.m. to noon. See flyer here for complete information. 


You too can organize your own Community Fundraiser to support people with Down syndrome and the vital programs of the MDSC. See here for more information or contact Angela Ortiz, Communications & Development Director, at

Resources, Research and Specials 

Check out these timely programs, studies and sales that you may find helpful: 


3L Launches Residential Program & Lifespan Community

3L Place, a Boston-area community for adults with developmental disabilities will launch a "model community" in Somerville in September 2013. 3LPlace will initially offer an intensive residential program ("the Transition Program") focused on helping maturing children transition to adult life. Shortly thereafter, the Community Members Program will roll out, where adult members of any age will be supported in all aspects of independent living: social and emotional well-being, vocational training, education and recreational activities throughout their lifespan.For further information and to download a brochure and pre-application, visit the 3L place website

Disability Publisher Offers "Down Syndrome Special" 

Woodbine House Publishers is kicking off its annual 2-month-long Down Syndrome Special in recognition of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  Save 20% on 40 titles for families, educators and therapists. Visit Woodbine's Down Syndrome page for all the titles


Study Hears Fathers' Views

As part of his doctoral studies, a graduate student at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology is conducting interviews with fathers of children with Down syndrome over the summer. The interviews will focus on fathers' reactions to the prenatal diagnosis and then their reflections and experiences in raising their son or daughter with Down syndrome and the effects on their lives and their families. For more information, including details on who can participate, visit our research webpage here.


Working directly with researchers and scientists, the MDSC Medical and Scientific Advisory Council selects a number of studies each year that will be made available for MDSC members to participate in if they so choose.

Each research proposal received is carefully reviewed for content, ethics, and feasibility before forwarding the information onto our members.

Self-Advocate Spotlight: Jeff Noble on Transition

With the school year just underway, self-advocate Jeff Noble (with help from him mom) reflects on his journey, and the thrills and challenges of transitioning from school to work-life:


My name is Jeff Noble. I am 22 and I graduated from the LABBB Collaborative program in Lexington last spring. 


Graduation was fun and my parents had a big party for me with all of my friends and family. It was great. I miss my friends at LABBB but I am making new friends at my work program. 


After my birthday in May, I started to go to Options in Belmont. It is a work program. They  have a thrift shop that sells women's clothes. I like to sort the clothes, put prices on them and hang them up. I also participate in the local Meals on Wheels program. It is fun and I like to get a paycheck. 


When I am not working, I go out with my group for activities in the community. We go to the YMCA for swimming and the gym. I like to play basketball. We also go to the library to borrow DVD's. I like to watch WWE Wrestling and the episodes of the TV series "Charmed."


Next week I will have an ISP (Individualized Service Plan) meeting with the people at Options, my DDS  (Department of Developmental Services) service coordinator, and my mom. It is like an IEP meeting but much better! We will talk about all the things that I like to do and the things that I am good at so that I can have more jobs. I am looking forward to working and spending time with my friends this year! 

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