The Problem: Lack of Options for High School Grads
Texas is 50th out of 50 states in spending on individuals with developmental differences (IDD). Individuals with Down syndrome are part of that community. The reality is that of the IDD population, only 15% have a paid job. But 47% are seeking work. And of high school students with IDD, only 23% go on to attend a 2- or 4- year school. Post high school options are limited. The ones that exist are targeted at high functioning Down syndrome individuals. Students with Down syndrome require more than life skills that are taught in high school. They must have continuous reinforcement and repetition to retain learning. This is where Down Syndrome Academy makes its mark.
The Solution: Down Syndrome Academy
Down Syndrome Academy (DSA) has been established as lifelong learning institution–a rare academic option for adults with Down syndrome. The Academy takes a 360-degree approach to each student to insure individual success. Since our pupils with Down syndrome experience similar learning and health issues, our program is more efficient and more effective in making change. Our guiding WAVES principles bring them closer to realizing their potential, contributing to their communities and ultimately enhancing their quality of life. Further, we intentionally keep tuition low so that our program is affordable to a broad range of students.
Our Impact: Striking Improvements in Health, Learning and Job Placement
Our funders want to know how we’re making a difference in the community. We’ve placed students into the paid work force. Each week, our students venture into the community to work on service projects. We’ve rejoiced in helping a non-verbal student speak his first word. Our focus on wellness, nutrition, and physical fitness training has transformed the health profile of our student body, literally. One of our students has lost 42 pounds. Another has lost 40 pounds. And yet another has lost 36 pounds. Weight loss across the board has been striking. One student was able to quit taking his diabetes medication. We’ve engaged public health researchers to help us quantify our impact on the broader community.