THE DSA COMMUNITY C.A.R.E.S.

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Advocates, Volunteers & People First Language

AWARENESS - See with your eyes – notice and acknowledge
ACCEPTANCE - Choose with your mind – to love, to celebrate and include
ADVOCACY - Act from your heart – make a difference


Acting on behalf of and speaking up for someone or a population that you care about makes you an advocate.

Advocates make a difference by expressing their cause to their circle of influence; their family, friends, neighbors, the community at large and, ultimately, the people that have the power to make a change.

Advocacy requires:

  • dedication and depth of feeling to advance the cause 
  • taking a lead, initiating - personally or with a group
  • a sense of urgency – the time is now – seize the opportunity 
  • doing more than what is done routinely – committment to make a difference
  • informing, challenging and inspiring the local community to continuously focus on improving quality of life 
  • commitment – to reach the goals set for yourself to tangible benefit others
  • reliability – realistic involvement; your impact will be greatest when your “pledge” is attainable


Parents are Advocates

As a parent or guardian of a special-needs child you immediately become an advocate. You will walk through various stages of advocacy while your child learns to self advocate. If you deliberately provided opportunities for your child practice self-advocacy skills throughout their adolescent years they will be adequately prepared for adulthood.

Stages of Advocacy

  • Behold your newborn baby
  • Early Intervention
  • Education
  • Medical, Financial, Insurance & Legal
  • Transition
  • Employment
  • Empowering the self-advocate
  • Preparations for aging

Self Advocates – young teens and adults with Down syndrome peaking out and taking an active role in planning their lives and the people and programs that support them. Self-advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to creatively and effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights. It involves making informed decisions.  Self-Advocacy is speaking up for oneself. One of the great outcomes of the self-advocacy movement over the last two decades includes the recognition that people with disabilities are people first as well as the push for People First Language.

Individual Advocates - advocacy is active. It involves doing something that will benefit a person or a population’s right to live a more fulfilling life. Individual advocates are comprised of a wide range of people and can be defined by a range of forms.

Advocates are

  • family members and friends who have a flow to their advocacy through their relationship
  • educators, service providers and medical professionals advocate through their defined encounters
  • concerned corporations and  individual citizens who see and then act upon their convictions

Advocacy is noticeable and effective, from its simplest form; a personal pledge to be an advocate and share the cause with one other to the construction of serving the person or organization with a lifetime of devotion.

ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS
National Down Syndrome Congress [NDSC] - www.ndsccenter.org 
National Down Syndrome Society [NDSS] – www.ndss.org 
Down Syndrome Affiliates In Action [DSAIA] - www.dsaia.org
Global Down Syndrome Foundation [GDSF] - http://www.globaldownsyndrme.org/ 

NORTH ALABAMA

Bringing Up Down Syndrome
B.U.D.S. - P.O. Box 1913, Madison, AL 35758
Phone: 1-256-728-7593
BUDS@budsonline.org

SOUTH ALABAMA

Montgomery Area Down Syndrome Outreach Group
628 Thousand Oaks Drive, Montgomery, AL 36109-2416
(334) 356-9048
www.montgomeryareadownsyndrome.com

Down Syndrome Society of Mobile County
C/O Goodwill Easter Seals Child Development Center
10 Westminster Way, Mobile, AL 36608-2821
251-342-3122
www.dssmc.com/

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. 
Email - josette000@centurytel.net 
P.O. BOX 9551 - DOTHAN, AL 36304
334-693-9199

ADVOCACY RESOURSES - ONLINE

Wrightslaw

Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
www.wrightslaw.com/

Alabama Parent Center
www.alabamaparentcenter.com/

Downloadable Files
2016 dsa brochure.pdf
2016 dsa calendar.pdf
al resource list.pdf