Breakfast with Santa 2013
Saturday December 7, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM MST
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Rockin' R. Ranch
6136 E. Baseline Rd
Mesa, AZ 85206
Driving Directions

Please consider making a holiday donation to Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona.

Sharing Down Syndrome is an Arizona approved 501(c)(3) organization which means you may be able to claim a tax credit for your donation. 

Taxpayers filing as "single" and "head of household" status may claim a maximum credit of 

Taxpayers filing as "married filing separate" may claim a maximum credit of $200.

Taxpayers that file as "married filing joint" may claim a maximum credit of $400.

In order to claim your tax credit you must file a form 321 with your taxes. (See your tax professional for details.) 

Donations may be made to Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona online, or mail them to:

Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona
745 N. Gilbert Rd., #124 PMB 273
Gilbert, Arizona 85234
Thank you for remembering us in your year end giving. xoxoxoxo

Dearest Beloved Friends,

Wow, where does the time go? I know my life is insane and I'm sure yours is as well. In fact our oldest daughter CJ just got married on Saturday and we are so happy for her and Devon.

I was taking pictures of them the other day and I had to laugh because I didn't even notice when I was taking the picture until afterwords. Look at David checking out the cute boy who was holding CJ's hand. It sure looks like he was being protective of his sister!! LOL 

I am working on a hard copy newsletter for you but until that goes to press, I wanted to make sure you knew about our upcoming Breakfast with Santa!


Now typically we have a Westside and Eastside party but this year our dear Westside committee is unable to host it so we are having a fun combined Eastside/Westside party.

I wish to thank our dear friends, Jamie Boyette, Janie Garcia and Kerri Smith for all the hard work they have done to make the Westside parties so much fun! As you can see, they are party animals as well! xoxo

Here is the information about this party. 


Please make sure to register so we can have enough crafts and food for everyone. 


As always this party is FREE to all families who have a child with Down syndrome and their siblings.   

Event:   Breakfast with Santa 
When:   Saturday November 7, 2013 
Time:     9-11 a.m. 
              6136 E. Baseline Rd
              Mesa, AZ 85206 
What:    We will have tons of fun as we party with the best party animals ever, our dear kids who have Down syndrome!

Santa will be there along with Mrs. Claus and our favorite Elf, Mark! There'll be crafts, continental breakfast, stories and much more.  

Don't forget to bring your camera!

When I was little my favorite TV show was a cowboy show called Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Little did I know that years later the first book I read about a child with Down syndrome was Angel Unaware written about their little girl Robin who was born with Down syndrome.
 There is a sweet video about  Robin on YouTube. Click image below to watch or click here.

Merry Christmas dear friends, I can't wait to see you at our party! Don't forget to register here.

All My love,
David's Mom (aka Gina Johnson)    

PS. I just want to take a minute to thank our dear friends Jim and Mary Ellen Robson who are the proud parents of Marisa, who has Down syndrome, and the owners of Rockin' R. Ranch for hosting our annual "Breakfast with Santa." They have a wonderful live G-rated holiday show that is perfect for taking out of town guests or celebrating the holidays with family.  
Marisa Robson
The family friendly show includes a real chuck wagon barbecue meal, singing, dancing, wild west high jinks and more! The highlight of their show for me is when beautiful Marisa sings and signs. She's amazing and very talented!! 

Taking your family to one of their shows would be a wonderful way to thank them for all they do for Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona. 
David and Santa

Click here to Register Now for the Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona Breakfast with Santa!





We are excited to announce the very first event of our new


. Each activity will held on the second Saturday of each month. We are so thankful for proud parents of Levi, Brian and Maria Gray who are our volunteer Parent Leaders.  Please join us for our first activity for December. 


Who:     All Teens and Young Adults who have Down syndrome (ages 16 and older)


What:  G-rated Christmas movie matinee 


When:    Saturday, December 14, 2013


Where: Harkin's Movie Theater                             SAN TAN MALL 

              2298 E. Williams Field Rd.

              Gilbert, AZ  85296

              (Loop 202 & Williams Field Rd.)


Why:    To have lots of fun while meeting new friends.


Time:    Afternoon Matinee (Exact time To Be Announced) 


Contact: Maria Gray at 


Cost:    Each attendee is responsible for individual costs (movie ticket and snacks).  

Typically the ticket price is $7.00 but if  Harkin's Theaters gives us a group discount for our charity we will pass this discount along to you. 




PS. We are looking for other parents who would like to help with this wonderful program! Please call us 480-926-6500 or email Polly to let us know you'd like to help with this wonderful program.  Heart icon


Maria and Brian Gray with Brian and sweet girlfriend, Megan.




Down Syndrome and Social Security Disability Benefits

What parents need to know.


Whether you are an adult living with Down syndrome or the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, you likely face a unique set of challenges.  Many families affected by Down syndrome find that, among these challenges, is financial instability. 


In adults with Down syndrome, lack of employment and required supportive care is often the root of financial problems. In children- a combination of medical bills, educational support, and specialty childcare is often the cause. 


Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that individuals with disabilities may face financial difficulties. For this reason, they offer financial assistance in the form of Social Security Disability benefits.


If you have a family member or child who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, he or she may be eligible to receive disability benefits. The following article will provide you with important background information and will prepare you to begin the application process.


Definition of Disability


In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, children and adults living with Down syndrome must first meet the SSA's definition of disability. It is important to note that children and adults have separate definitions.  According to the SSA, an adult (typically over the age of 18) is considered to be disabled if he or she meets the following criteria:

  • The adult is unable to do any type of work and
  • Has a physical or mental condition that has lasted, or is expected to last at least one whole year.

A child (typically under the age of 18) is considered to be disabled if he or she meets the following criteria:

  • The child is not earning substantial income and
  • Has a physical or mental condition (or a combination of conditions) that very seriously limits his or her activities;
  • The condition(s) has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or is expected to result in death. 

Adults and children who do not meet the appropriate definition will not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.


Social Security Disability Benefit Programs


After meeting the definition of disability, applicants must meet the technical eligibility criteria of one or both of the disability programs that the SSA provides.  These programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


The first of these programs, SSDI, is typically better suited for adults. This is due to the fact that eligibility for SSDI is based on an applicant's employment history and Social Security tax contributions. Due to a lack of employment history, children usually don't qualify for this program. However, if a parent or guardian of the child is already receiving SSDI benefits than the child may qualify under the parent's record. 


Children over the age of 18 (adult children), who were diagnosed with Down syndrome before the age of 22, may also qualify for SSDI benefits under a parent's record.  To learn about specific SSDI eligibility requirements, click here. 


SSI, on the other hand, offers benefits to disabled individuals of all ages who earn very little income. This program is generally the better option for children and adults who have very little employment history.  Eligibility for SSI is based solely on strict financial limits. Because children are not responsible for their own finances, applicants under the age of 18 will likely be evaluated based on a parent or guardian's income. To learn more about SSI financial limits, click here. 


Medical Qualifications


Applicants must also meet specific medical requirements in order to qualify for disability benefits. The SSA lists all of these requirements in a document called the Blue Book - which is an official manual of disabling conditions and criteria for eligibility. Within the Blue Book there are separate criteria for adults and children, however when it comes to Down syndrome these criteria are very similar.


Essentially, both listings state that the SSA considers adults and children with non-mosaic Down syndrome to be disabled from birth. However, applicants must use the appropriate medical documentation and records to prove that he or she has, in fact, been diagnosed with non-mosaic Down syndrome.  These records should include the following:

  • A lab report of karyotype analysis
  • A written statement by a treating physician that confirms a diagnosis of Down syndrome

Due to the range of debilitating effects, people with mosaic Down syndrome do not automatically qualify as disabled.  In order for an individual with mosaic Down syndrome to qualify for disability benefits, he or she must provide medical documentation that demonstrates limited physical or mental capabilities.


You can access the complete childhood Blue Book listing, here  and the complete adult Blue Book listing, here.


Beginning the Application Process


The Social Security Disability application process is different for adults and children. Adult applicants can fill out the necessary paperwork on the SSA's website or in person at their local Social Security office.  It is important to note that a caretaker or family member is allowed to apply for disability benefits on behalf of an adult with Down syndrome.


Child applicants, on the other hand, must attend a mandatory interview with an SSA representative. If you are a parent applying on behalf of a child, you should call the SSA immediately to schedule your child's interview.  Parents will need to complete two separate forms (Application for Supplemental Security Income and Child Disability Report). Although the first of these forms can be completed online, many parents prefer to complete both at the scheduled interview appointment with the help of an SSA representative.


Receiving a Decision


Once you have applied for benefits, it may be several months before you receive a decision concerning your claim. While you are waiting for a decision, the SSA may contact you for more information. It is important that you respond to these requests as quickly as possible. This will help you to avoid any further delays in the approval process.


Unfortunately, many initial applications for benefits are denied. If your application is denied, you are allowed to appeal this decision within 60 days of receiving your notice of denial. Although navigating the appeals process may seem discouraging, it is often a necessary step toward receiving disability benefits. In fact, many more applicants are approved during the appeals process than during the initial application. Remain persistent in your efforts to ensure that your child or loved one is awarded the benefits that he or she needs. 


Click here to Register Now for the Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona Breakfast with Santa!