April Newsletter

What's News?

Times have changed!  Our Response to Covid-19 at DSQ  
We have been working hard to reinvent & rework ways we can provide our usual programs, classes and support services… there are some exciting things in the works including virtual roadshows, online workshops, video talks, Netflix watch parties, private Facebook groups, and much more! Over the next few weeks, you will see a range of revised products and events released to our DSQ members – some of which you will read about in the following newsletter.  If you need support or information you can still call the office number on (07) 3356 6655 where your call will be transferred to staff mobiles. Alternatively you can email

  • COVID-19 Resources & Support
There are many different resources being created for people with disabilities around COVID-19.  Please see below an overview of information that may be of benefit at this time:
  • Down Syndrome QLD is providing regular updates via our Facebook page, particularly around things such as NDIS updates, COVID-19 resources, upcoming online events, Reading Our Way, etc:
  • We have also created a short video on COVID-19 for people with Down syndrome.  The video can be accessed via our YouTube page via this link:
  • Down Syndrome Australia have devoted a whole section of their website to providing updated resources that would be helpful for people with Down syndrome, their families and communities:
  • The Australian Government has launched The Disability Information Helpline which provides information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19).  The Helpline can help families, carers, support workers and services too.  The Disability Information Helpline is free, private and fact-checked.  You can contact the Helpline in the following ways: Phone (free call): 1800 643 787 or If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.
The Team at Down Syndrome Queensland are here to continue answering any enquiries you may have during this time, so please do not hesitate to contact us if we can assist with any questions or concerns you may have.
  • Advocacy
DSQ and DSA play a vital role in advocating for any systemic issues, particularly in the current environment and have actively been working with partners and governments including the NDIA, Education and Health Departments to ensure that our members are adequately represented.  If you have any particular systemic issues that you would like to discuss with us, please get in contact.
Down Syndrome Queensland YouTube Channel!
We will be producing and releasing several new video products to ustilise in our current virtual environment.  As such we’ve redesigned our YouTube channel and will be using it as a hub for all our video content.  Why not become a subscriber to be sure not to miss anything?  Click here now!
Music Playgroup
Our regular Music Playgroup sessions have gone online and as such accessible to anyone across Queensland.  Music Playgroups run on a Monday, where we have two classes:
•        9:30am – 3-5 year olds
•        10:45am – Birth to 2 year olds
The focus of these groups is on the children learning through involvement.  Music playgroups can enhance early child-hood development and nurture relationships between parent and child through musical play. The experience will also give parents hands-on ideas for using music at home to stimulate, calm and interact with their baby or child.
We are now asking for Expressions of Interest regarding your involvement in these sessions.  This group can be accessed through your NDIS plans. To register your interest or to get more information, contact Georgie at
Support Services
Q & A Session for Families with The DSQ Team
On Wednesday 6th May at 11am the DSQ team invite you to join them online to answer any questions that you have, and to hear common questions we have been addressing.
Some of topics may include;
  • Mental health concerns
  • Social isolation
  • Behaviour changes
  • NDIS & support co-ordination
  • Early years supports
  • Caring for the carer
  • Ideas around activities
  • Structuring your day
  • Music playgroup and choir which is now virtual and accessible State-wide.
  • DSQ programs/ activities for teens and 18+ which are virtual and accessible State-wide
  • CEP class which is now virtual and accessible State-wide.
Register your interest here: :
Parent Get Together
We want to offer Queensland families the opportunity to catch up with one another to talk about any concerns or share ideas with one another via zoom. There will be 5 dates available to cater for different age groups and a session for working parents;
  •  Monday 11th May (6-12 years) 11-12pm 
  • Tuesday 12th May (0-5 years) 11-12pm 
  • Wednesday 13th May (All ages) 6.30pm 
  • Wednesday 13th May (13-17 years) 11-12pm 
  • Thursday 14th  May (18+ years) 11-12pm 
 Please register your interest here:

DLQ & DSQ Workshop
Disability Law Queensland invites Down Syndrome Queensland members to attend an online workshop on 2 May about using the law to safeguard plans for their loved ones with a disability.  Topics covered in the upcoming workshop will be:
  • Guardianship, Administration & Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Wills & Trusts
This workshop will be held online via ZOOM.  Once you have registered for this workshop via Eventbrite via this link, the details of the webinar and the ZOOM link will be emailed to you during the week of the workshop.
DSQ Housing Information Session Series 
The second DSQ Housing Information Session will still be going ahead in mid-June, however they will now be conducted online.
Topic: How to look for flatmates
Date: Wednesday 17th June
Time: 5-7pm
Venue: Online
This workshop will be held online via ZOOM.  Once you have registered for this workshop via Eventbrite via this link, the details of the webinar and the ZOOM link will be emailed to you during the week of the workshop.
NDIS Support & COVID-19 Changes
The NDIS, like many parts of our world, has had to make some adjustments since COVID-19. Below is a snap-shot of what you need to know, for any more information, our NDIS Support Officer can help you. Contact Casey here.
On Scheduled reviews and Planning meetings:
  • All Scheduled Reviews and Planning meetings will be held over the phone or via email.
  • When your current plan expires it will automatically be extended so you don’t lose access to your funding. So don’t worry if your plan expires soon and you haven’t got a review booked in yet.
  • If you are happy with your current plan, rather than have a Scheduled Review, you can choose to have it duplicated for 12-24 months.
  • If you DO need your next plan to be different, make sure you tell the NDIS you are not happy with just extending your current plan. Let them know you DO want to have a Scheduled review.
On NDIS Costs and Cancellations – some temporary changes!
  • The amount Providers can now charge for some things has increased by 10%. However, your plan funds have not automatically increased. The Support Categories included in this change are:
    • Assistance with Daily Life (not including SIL funding)
    • Assistance with Social and Community Participation
    • Improved Health and Wellbeing (not including Personal Training)
    • Improved Daily Living Skills
  • If you need to cancel a booking, a ‘short term cancelation’ is now defined as 10 days from the service being delivered. So you will now be charged in full for services if you cancel within 10 days (rather than within 2) of the service.
  • These are currently temporary measure in response to COVID-19. They are currently in place until September 25, 2020.   

On Grocery Deliveries and a new Price Guide - NDIS updates
  • If you’re an NDIS participant, you can now access Priority Delivery of groceries from Woollies, Coles and other major grocery stores. The NDIA will provide you with a special access code via email or text.  More info:
  • Flexibility – If you’ve got Support Coordination and due to the COVID-19 situation are running out of hours, you can now spend CORE funds on your Support Coordination. The Price-Guide now includes Support Coordination line items under CORE.  Talk to DSQ’s Support Coordinator Carolyn contact details? for more info.
  • The Price Guide has been updated, as of March 25. If you’re Self-Managed, make sure you’re looking at the most up to date info on pricing.
Who can support me during COVID-19 with NDIS? Family VS Support Workers
Has COVID-19 impacted who is provides you or your loved one with support?
Maybe your usual support worker is unavailable as they’ve had to self-isolate, and you need someone else to provide care. Can you hire family members? What about family friends? How will you continue to be supported?
Maybe your family have decided to care for you to better social distance and avoid multiple people coming in and out of the house. But have you thought about who will provide support if the carers in your family unit fall ill? Have you got a plan in place for who will coordinate those supports in that situation?
The NDIS has published new information on their website to help NDIS participants and their families answer these questions. Check out the information through these links, or get in touch with Casey, our NDIS Support Services Officer here for more info.
Support Coordination & COVID-19
Some good news for those who are struggling to manage all the changes to their supports as a result of the Coronavirus.
  • DSQ is now able to support families throughout Qld
  • The NDIS has announced changes to allow more people to access support co-ordination as a result of the Coronavirus. Read our blog here 
If you would like to know more about support co-ordination and how DSQ can support your family, please contact Carolyn, our support co-ordinator, at or via the office on 3356 6655. 

Social Programs

Social Programs Facebook Group

A private Facebook group is now being used to connect participants in the DSQ Social Programs, DSQ Club and DSQ Teens.  Almost 70 people have joined the private group and are sharing photos and stories together.  Only members of DSQ Club, DSQ Teens and their families are able to join the group.  If you are interested in more information contact Andrew on

Social Skills Photo Challenge 
We use social skills every day, but have you ever tried to improve them?  The Social Skills Photo Challenge aims to showcase how people interpret social skills and get people thinking about how they display good Social Skills.  Anyone can participate by sharing photos on Instagram and facebook, or emailing them to

Online Social Programs
Online Charades and Trivia are just the beginning of the virtual Social Programs now being offered by DSQ.  The programs are already proving to be engaging and successful with many of the existing members of DSQ Club and DSQ Teens in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.  Over the next few weeks these programs will grow into regional areas of Queensland, to people who have never participated in DSQ events before. If you are in regional Queensland and would like to get involved, please email

DSQ Lunch Club
DSQ Lunch Club is an informal opportunity to catch up, see and speak with your friends regularly, while we all eat our lunch together on zoom. It is open to all DSQ members, volunteers and staff. There is no set topics or planned activities, just a catch up with friends to talk about whatever you like.
You can join in once, or every day. It’s up to you. You can join in for the whole hour, or only a few minutes.  It’s up to you. Some days we might have ‘special guests’ join us for lunch too!! So, keep an eye out for this….
Cost is $5 per lunch (NDIS funded) and is invoiced at the end of the month. For more information on how to get involved email Andrew at

 Social Program Calendar
Who Event When
CLUB TRIVIA Tuesday 5th
CLUB CHARADES Tuesday 12th
TEENS TRIVIA Thursday 14th
CLUB TRIVIA Tuesday 19th
TEENS CHARADES Thursday 21st
CLUB CHARADES Tuesday 26th
ALL TALENT SHOW Wednesday 27th
TEENS TRIVIA Thursday 28th


Have you thought about participating in our Continued Education Program?
Our CEP Classes will now be offered via ZOOM commencing Wednesday 22nd April. This gives the opportunity for anyone around Queensland to participate. 
If you are an adult with Down syndrome who has finished formal schooling but continue to have educational goals, enjoy learning and would like the opportunity to engage with an online program with like minded adults this opportunity is for you!
Spaces are available in our Wednesday, Thursday and Friday classes resuming on Wednesday 22nd April in this new online format. Classes will initially run from 9am – 12pm extending to 2pm from week 3 onwards and offer a wide variety of fun and interactive learning activities, including a public speaking program - Class Masters and our weekly quiz.
Participation in these classes can be accessed through your NDIS Plans. To register your interest or find out more, please email – places are limited so get in quick!
Class teachers have been very busy engaging with students to ensure they are set up to participate in this style of delivery, exploring zoom and setting up for a fun interactive online program. We look forward to welcoming some new students to engage with us on this platform. The possibilities are endless!


Learning from Home
Down Syndrome Australia have a new resource page on their website to help you with supporting your child or teen through the different challenges of learning from home. On the page you will find:
- Guide for learning at home during COVID-19
- Staying safe online
- Learning resources, activities and ideas
Keep checking these information pages for resources and the latest updates – Click here NOW!
Another great resource is the Reading Our Way program.  There are several kits available to start or compliment your learning journey! Read all about it here:  

 Free Upcoming Information Webinars
  1. Supporting Learning@Home– 30th April 3:30-4:30pm
This free webinar will give teachers and teacher aides who are involved in the education of students with Down syndrome ideas, strategies and resources they can use to support students with additional needs who are Learning@Home in the current Coronavirus environment.
  1. Visual Supports – 14 May 3:30- 4:30pm
This free webinar will look at the visual supports that aide to engage, direct and encourage students to not only complete tasks but build independence, security and a sense of accomplishment.  We know that students with Down syndrome are visual learners (along with 65% of learners) so incorporating visual supports into classroom and home life can make a substantial impact. Not only will these visual supports help the student with Down syndrome but will impact positively on the engagement of all students if incorporated as a whole class.
  1. Positive Behaviour Supports – 4 June 3:30-4:30pm
This free webinar will look at some of the common behavioural issues that are often seen in students with Down syndrome. It will give strategies and practical examples of how-to best deal with and redirect unwanted behaviours in an educational setting as well as home.  It will also outline some of the simple thing’s educators can do to reduce behaviours from becoming an issue/problem.
  1. Reading Our Way Information – 18 June 3:30-4:30pm
This free webinar will give you a breakdown of the research behind this program as well as the success many schools are seeing.  It will give you the necessary skills to be able to successfully implement the Reading OUR Way program into your home, school or centre. You will hear about our unique program and its errorless learning technique, relational learning style and scaffolded approach to teaching sight words. This program is best utilised as part of a whole reading program and can be incorporated into an inclusive education setting with the use of literacy groups/rotations.
Fundraising and Supporting Us

#DonateMyCommute Campaign!

With so many people working from home right now and navigating a new routine, it’s possible that people might be feeling helpless, and like they're unable to make a difference. One thing we all know for sure is that giving feels good!  EverydayHero has launched their #DonateMyCommute campaign where you can easily and directly support DSQ through a donation. 
How does it work? You can give the usual amount you’d spend on your weekly commute (bus fare, train ticket, or petrol money), while sharing the message, “I chose to #DonateMyCommute” through our unique link.  To help us continue to support, advocate and engage with our community across Queensland please donate now! Thank you!

World Down Syndrome Day 2020!
World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March was a huge success even with the limitations on our group gatherings! Thank you to all those that wore their crazy socks, posted images on social media and donated in support of Down Syndrome Queensland’s on going work throughout the state.  A huge success with over 1000 socks purchased and over $1500 donated - totalling over $3500 raised!

Member Highlights

Sensory Box – An article by Regional Representative Amanda Sarchet

One of the very first homemade therapy activities that I put together for Caitlin was her Sensory Box. She would get very excited when I gave her sensory box to her as she absolutely loved exploring everything inside.
All you need is a box; I purchased a box from a discount shop, but a shoe box would do the same trick. The idea is to then fill the box with items of different sizes, shapes and textures, most of these I just purchased from a discount shop for a few dollars each. Items such as bead necklaces, slinkies, cat balls with a bell inside, linking rings, balls (soft, hard, spikey and bumpy), a glittery wand, rattles, small animals (soft, spikey and furry). It’s amazing what you can also find around the house to add in the sensory box; bubble wrap, ball of wool, bottle lids, scrunched up alfoil, small nail brush, sponges, nail filing board, cotton balls, we even had a piece of fake grass in there.
It’s very important that whatever goes into your box when your child is exploring it, they are closely monitored in case anything goes in their mouth and doesn’t become a choking hazard. This was tricky for us with Caitlin as she would (and still does) like to rub/feel things around her mouth, so we have had to do a lot of quick pouncing sometimes before something goes into her mouth. These items can also be used for fine motor activities; grasping the rings from different heights, reaching up to pull the beads out of your hand, turning the wand up and down to make the glitter move plus from one hand to the other, stretching the slinky with both hands, grasping and dropping the balls. Exposing your child to different textures at a very early age is really important in the process of giving them the opportunity to make sense of the world around them. A homemade sensory box can be a great start for doing this.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – A Blue Roo Theatre Company Production
Blue Roo Theatre Company are preparing their next performance, albeit now taking a break from rehearsing together!  Save the date, mark your calendar – the actors are hopeful that restrictions will be eased by then so you can all come along and support their performance. 
When:  November 26, 27, 28. 
Where: The Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, SouthBank
What:  The most powerful music, and amazing, inspiring performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 
Upcoming ONLINE Events

30 April       Supporting Learning@Home Webinar
2 May          DLQ and DSQ Workshop
6 May          Q & A Session for Families with The DSQ Team
11 May        Parent Get Together (6-12 years)
12 May        Parent Get Together (0-5 years)
13 May        Parent Get Together (13-17 years)
14 May        Parent Get Together (18+ years)
14 May        Visual Supports Webinar
4 June         Positive Behaviour Supports Webinar
17 June       DSQ Housing Information Session 2
+ Daily Lunch Club
+ Weekly DSQ Club and Teens events

For more details and how to register for all DSQ events click here! 

To become a member of our wonderful organisation free please Click Here
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 3223
Stafford QLD 4053
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282 Stafford Road, Stafford   

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Down Syndrome Queensland · 282 Stafford Road · Stafford · Stafford, Queensland 4053 · Australia