Down Syndrome Foundation of Southeastern New Mexico hosted a workshop Saturday on Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell’s campus to provide resources and information to help teachers, admin[auth] istrators, therapists and parents better educate children.
DSF was one of six organizations in the nation to receive a $10,000 grant from the National Down Syndrome Congress and Global Down Syndrome Foundation to present the workshop, said Executive Director Missy Holman, and it was the first of its kind in the state.
One in 691 people is born with Down Syndrome, she said, and the condition is not caused by factors such as ethnicity or economic class. The Foundation serves families in nine counties throughout southeastern New Mexico.
“The goal is to raise awareness and inclusion so that people with Down Syndrome can just live life, like all of us,” she said.
In addition to break-out sessions on topics such as teaching literacy and helping students transition from high school to college, the event also featured lectures from Connecticut-based educator Dr. Kathleen Whitbread, motivational speaker Dr. Gary Schwantz and advocate Tim Harris, who was born with Down Syndrome.
Attendees included members of school districts and communities throughout southeastern New Mexico, as well as Midland, Texas.
“We’re just really pleased with the turnout,” said Teresa McCreary, DSF Board of Directors president. “The response from attendees is that [the workshop] has been very well-received.”
There were also door prizes given and students from ENMU-R’s Circle K and Roswell High School’s Key Club helped throughout the event.
Lori Ronquillo, a certified occupational therapy assistant at Monterrey Elementary School, said the event was interesting and informative. “Now we can think outside the box a little bit more,” she said.
ENMU-R student Juana Aguilar, who is completing COTA field work at Parkview Early Literacy Center, found the event “fascinating.”
“I’m very excited to complete my field work and apply some of the techniques I’ve learned here,” she said.