Lebanese Down Syndrome Association

Lebanese Down Syndrome Association

The Lebanese Down Syndrome Association [L.D.S.A.] is an independent organization registered under license 70/A.D. It was established in 1998 and is run by parents whose commitments are to secure the needed resources to fulfill its mission and to garner the support of the general public.

Vision

L.D.S.A. strives to build an inclusive society, which acknowledges the abilities of all people, particularly those with Down Syndrome [D.S.], supports their needs, and encourages the achievement of their full potential for successful and happy lives, as individuals and as citizens.

Mission

L.D.S.A. promotes and supports:

1. Self-determination for people with D.S.
2. Positive public awareness about people with special needs and particularly people with D.S.
3. Inclusive education.
4. Employment in inclusive settings.
5. Progressive legislation and litigation for an inclusive society.

Task

L.D.S.A. endeavors to fulfill its mission through networking, lobbying, and operating a resource center:

A. Networking & Lobbying:

• Collaborating actively with groups and coalitions whose efforts are directed to similar aims, particularly inclusion, participation, and self-determination.

• Creating, consolidating, and activating networks of people with special needs, parents, professionals, service providers, and concerned community members, to enable them to function as support, advocacy, and pressure groups.

B. Resource Center:

L.D.S.A.’s Resource Center compiles and disseminates updated information about issues concerning people with special needs, particularly people with D.S., and provides moral and technical support to individuals or organizations that adopt inclusive practices.

• Information:

1. Providing information and referral to organizations, programs, and individuals with similar interests.

2. Initiating and participating in public information campaigns to promote and support inclusion, participation, and self-determination.

3. Establishing a resource library about D.S. for parents, professionals, service providers, and concerned community members.

4. Publishing printed (such as brochures, pamphlets, and fact sheets) or audiovisual materials needed by the community to provide correct information about D.S.

• Support:

1. Offering moral support, acceptance, and encouragement for persons with D.S., their parents, siblings, and extended family members, in order to facilitate their role as advocates and as promoters of inclusion, participation, and self-determination. This includes providing information, guidance and counseling regarding personal and social life, assistance in locating and obtaining appropriate services (especially health and education) as well as in handling legal and financial matters (such as citizen rights, trust funds, estate planning).

2. Encouraging those actively making the promise of quality inclusive services for children, youth, and adults with D.S. by supporting their efforts in various ways, including: organizing information dissemination activities (such as forums, media campaigns, printed or audiovisual documentation), providing technical assistance and training, participating in research and development activities, and sponsoring projects and services.

Policy Directions

Promoting Self-Determination: “Be treated as individuals”, “Nothing about me without me!”

• Striving for self-determination for all people with D.S. and adopting the following core principles set forth by the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS):

- Freedom, the exercise of the same rights as all citizens: to establish where they want to live, with whom, and how they will use their time.

- Authority, the control over sums of money needed for one’s support: development of an individual budget, which “moves” with the person.

- Support, the organization of these resources as determined by the person with Down Syndrome and his or her allies: contracting for specific tasks for which one needs assistance.

- Responsibility, the wise use of public dollars; includes the obligation of people with Down Syndrome to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.

• Activating networks that offer moral, emotional and psychological support, acceptance, and encouragement to people with D.S. and their families.

• Asserting the right of individuals with D.S. to speak and to be listened to.

• Enabling people with D.S. to have greater control over all aspects of their lives by assisting them in making informed choices. (Nothing about me without me!)

• Emphasizing the development of responsible life management skills by supporting and promoting excellence in services provided to people with D.S.

Promoting Positive Public Awareness: “Inclusive environment for all”, “Building a sense of community”

• Stimulating public interest in and contributing to community change towards inclusiveness.

• Promoting an inclusive social attitude based on recognition of every individual’s unique potential and commitment to develop it to the fullest extent.

• Promoting a positive image of persons with D.S.

• Increasing awareness and knowledge of issues relating to D.S.

• Advocating for civil rights and equal opportunities for individuals with D.S.

• Eliminating physical and social obstacles that prevent equity and quality of life.

• Supporting progressive legislation and litigation.

Promoting Inclusive Education: “Grow into responsible adults”, “Children who learn together, learn to live together”

• Promoting the development of appropriate inclusive early intervention services for infants and preschoolers.

• Promoting the development of inclusive education and community-referenced educational programs by encouraging heterogeneous grouping based on natural diversity.

• Providing necessary support for educators and teachers, and building their capacities to play a key role in developing the child’s learning and self-determination potential.

• Promoting the development of appropriate adult education opportunities to foster self-determination through: literacy, academic education, technical, and vocational training.

• Encouraging and supporting employment opportunities in inclusive settings through: appropriate guidance, job placement, on-the-job training and coaching, and other employment support services.

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