Public Awareness Program
Our public awareness programs help to educate the public about Down syndrome. We make current information available to the public through our web site and through the brochures we distribute to hospitals and clinics. Our trained public speakers talk to schools, businesses, community groups, hospitals, and other organizations throughout the Chicago area. We also sponsor a variety of public awareness campaigns for Down Syndrome Awareness month in October, as well as organizing public awareness events, such as the recent NADS Day at U.S. Cellular Field, in which NADS members and friends attended a White Sox game, during which public service announcements about Down syndrome ran on the Jumbotron and a young man with Down syndrome sang the National anthem.
In 2001, NADS developed a new public awareness campaign for Down Syndrome Awareness month in October: two series of bookmarks, one focusing on friendship and the other on accomplishments. The bookmarks celebrate the strengths of people with Down syndrome, emphasizing their social gifts and their many other talents. In 2005 we released six new bookmarks and in the summer of 2006 we will release three more.
Talents that Inspire Video
NADS has developed a video for showcasing what people with Down syndrome can achieve: “Talents that Inspire.” This 30-minute DVD features 6 people with Down syndrome, ranging in age from 10 to 44, who display their skills in painting, ice skating, Irish dancing, gymnastics, piano, and violin. Like the “Don’t Be Surprised” poster series we used in previous years, the DVD highlights the many things people with Down syndrome can do. That message was not lost on college students who saw the video in conjunction with a NADS talk. One student commented, “The video was unbelievable. Wow! It’s great to see how talented these people are and that they have dreams and ambitions... just like everyone else.”
Public Awareness Presentations
Our trained public speakers have given presentations at schools, businesses, community organizations, and medical facilities throughout the Chicago area. Their audiences have ranged from grade school students to special educators, parents, business managers, and medical professionals. Our speakers provide a detailed picture of what life is like for people with Down syndrome and their families, and they speak with the passion of their own experience. All of our public speakers are parents of children with Down syndrome
Our speakers also provide an important service to NADS by strengthening our relationship with local hospitals, which are our most important source of referrals for new families. Through our hospital in-service program, our speakers bring current information about Down syndrome to doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, and other staff members. The positive message which our speakers bring and the insights they share help medical professionals to offer more sensitive care to families. Without the dedication of our speakers in maintaining these important relationships with the medical community, we would have a harder time identifying the families which need our help.