Thursday, February 18, 2016

World Down Syndrome Day...welcome to our world!

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day

On March 21, the entire world will join together CELEBRATING people with Down syndrome. Our Down Syndrome Center utilizes a strength-based approach to assist families in best meeting their child's needs in the classroom, the community and family life. If you would like more information about our services, please email us at

Please join us on Saturday, March 19th, as we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day in Jacksonville. We will be at Unity Plaza in Riverside. This event is open to the public and will include an evening of dinner, dancing, entertainment and a live auction. This event will bring over 300 residents of Jacksonville and the surrounding areas to raise public awareness and create a single voice of advocacy in honor of World Down Syndrome Day (3/21/16).

Click here to register: World Down Syndrome Day

Who loves you baby?

Do you love someone with Down syndrome? Share your pictures and stories by sending them to us at:

and we'll share them with the world by putting them on our blog!

Comment and share our blog on Facebook for a chance to win one of our 2016 calendars. We will pick 5 winners at random who comment and share by Sunday, 2-21-16!

Find us on the web: Hope Haven
                                  Find us on Facebook:Hope Haven on Facebook

                                  Email us here:The Down Syndrome Center

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Surviving the Holidays

We all have a picture in mind of the perfect holiday. The kids would be dressed in their sweet holiday outfits, singing songs, decorating cookies and behaving like perfect angels. my house, that never happens! We finally got our tree up and last night, the cat knocked it over just after midnight. Some gifts have been purchased, none have been wrapped. I think I have some paper somewhere but the tape has disappeared. Instead of Christmas carols the sounds I hear are my kids fighting...and the days keeping passing by! It feels like the holidays will be over before I am even ready for them to begin. 

If you are feeling the stress of the season, imagine how it feels for children. Especially children with language delays, sensory issues and other disabilities. There are lots of things you can do to help your child enjoy this time without becoming overwhelmed and in turn, it will help you out as well. 

1. Keep it simple! The truth is, what your kids really want is more of you. Not more stuff, more toys, more candy, more parties...they want to be with you doing simple things like reading stories, making simple crafts and helping in the kitchen. It doesn't have to be anything big and fancy, keep the holidays simple and you'll find your kids are calmer and happier.

2. Stay on a routine. Even if your routine for the holidays is different from your usual routine, kids need predictability. They need to know what is going to happen before it actually happens. A printed schedule of pictures or words can be helpful for the child who thrives on structure. Some parts of your child's normal routine like wake-up and bedtime routines, household responsibilities and mealtimes should remain consistent throughout the holiday season. It makes getting back on track in the new year much easier. 

3. Create a quiet place. If you entertain in your own home, designate a space that your child can go to if he or she feels the needs to escape the crowd. If you are going out, discuss ahead of time a way your child can alert you if he or she becomes overwhelmed and needs some down time.

Check out these other online resources for more helpful holiday tips:

Not Just Surviving the Holidays

The 12 Days of Coping

Holiday Survival Guide

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Down Syndrome Center

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2016 Down Syndrome Center calendars are here!

The Down Syndrome Center
2016 Calendars are in!!!

Our calendars make a great holiday gift for your family, friends, teachers and other professionals. What an awesome way to support the work of Hope Haven's Down Syndrome Center in our effort to assist families in our own community and beyond. Your purchase helps fund therapies, programs and materials for our clients. At only $15 per calendar, these are a great buy! The calendars have beautiful professional photographs of some of our Down Syndrome Center clients. Information about the range of services Hope Haven provides is also included in the calendar. Please contact us at

Hope Haven website

Hope Haven on Facebook

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Down Syndrome Awareness Month Spotlight on Kennedy

The Down Syndrome Center at Hope Haven

We are off to a wonderful October and heading toward our Buddy Walk on November 7th. This month we are celebrating some of our past and present clients with that little something extra. Today our star is...drum-roll please...
From Kennedy's mom:
What a great idea to celebrate Down syndrome awareness month and I love any chance I get to brag on Hope Haven. As Kennedy just celebrated her 3rd birthday, I'm especially thankful for Mrs. Kris. When we first started regular therapy with Kris, at about 4 months old, we had no idea we'd be meeting one of our biggest cheerleaders. One of my favorite things about Mrs. Kris, aside from her singing, is the fact that she always treats Kennedy as a unique individual. She never uses the diagnosis to classify what our girl is or isn't capable of or how she should be treated. Kennedy is her own unique person in Kris' eyes and is always loved and challenged with a fun mix of songs and play with her "work." Mrs. Kris deserves so much praise for her dedication to excellent service. 
We are thankful for all of the growth that Kennedy has experienced at Hope Haven and look forward to continuing that growth with your wonder team of therapists.

Thank you for sharing your experience with Hope Haven and Mrs. Kris. We think she's awesome too!

If you'd like more information on our Down Syndrome Center,
please email us at

Friday, October 2, 2015

Boys Will Be Boys!

Today we celebrate 2 of our little buddies from our kindergarten class. Before school started, they did not know each other. As you can see, they are now great friends. They love to greet each other each morning and they get into lots of mischief together. They can usually be found in the reading center looking at books, laughing, talking and making noises that little boys like to make. These 2 seem to find each other no matter what we are doing at school, they just want to be together.

Isn't that what we want for all our kids? To find meaningful friendships with others who like the same things. To be a valued part of a classroom community is the right of every child. We are so thankful to have these 2 friends be a part of our first kindergarten class. A class where every child is included, valued, loved and cherished. A great beginning to a wonderful school year.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Today is October 1st and also the first day of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. We are going to take this month to share with you some of our favorite people. They are our favorites because they make us laugh, they inspire us, they make us wonder and they bring us joy. They can also exasperate us, aggravate us, exhaust us and make us question our own sanity! They are sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, students, friends and family. Oh...and they also have Down syndrome. It is not who they are, it's just a part of them. One part of the many things that make a person who they are. And while that part makes them different, there is much more that is alike than different.

People with Down syndrome have hopes, dreams and desires like we all do. Fortunately, more of them are able to realize those dreams but we still have a long way to go. Although there are now many more opportunities for people with all types of disabilities, we are a long way from where we need to be. Until then, we must continue to do the hard work, have the uncomfortable conversations and press forward to ensure all people with Down syndrome are provided with what they need to be successful. 

The Down Syndrome Center at Hope Haven is proud to be a service provider for families of children with Down syndrome and other special needs. From brand new babies to young adults and every age in between, we can help you navigate the journey of parenting a child with a disability. We can also provide you with therapies, educational advocacy, summer camps, preschool, kindergarten and tutoring. Please contact us with any questions.