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Ages 12 - 18

Teen Years

Welcome! Down Syndrome Innovations offers opportunities and guidance for teens to build skills and reach their potential, as well as educational opportunities and future planning support for parents and caregivers. We are on this journey with you now, and throughout the lifespan of your teen. Consider us your teen's lifetime partner on this journey.

Our Unique Approach

Our Lifespan Services Team created our Lifespan Services Framework, which is the core of how we approach our mission and our work.

This Framework is a person-centered framework where the entire course of our services and supports—across their lifespan—revolves around the story, preferences, strengths, uniqueness, needs and available support system of each individual we serve. It is a dynamic framework evolving across any age or lifespan stage. When applying this framework, our Team ensures that we are addressing 7 key skills geared towards advancing the individual within their home and community life: Communication, Social-Emotional Skills, Daily Living, Vocational Development, Community Engagement, Health and Wellness, and Safety.

Get Connected

Have you filled out our contact form?

We encourage you to fill out our contact form so a member of our team can follow up with you and recommend relevant services and supports, plus we can add you to our mailing list!

It is especially critical that we have the birth date of your teen. Birth dates are very important as they guide us in which services and supports to recommend to families at each stage of life. At this stage in the lifespan, we specifically target communication to families who have teens approaching adulthood, so we can ensure you have access to critical transition information prior to your teen turning 18 years old.

We will follow up with you promptly after we receive your contact form, but you are welcome to message us directly as well, as we want to be responsive to your needs.

Your Personalized Newsletter

2024 Newsletters

Wherever you are on your journey, our expert Lifespan Services Team is with you continually finding new ways to offer innovative services for every age and season of life. 

Teens newsletter

Services & Support

Down Syndrome Innovations offers services and support offers opportunities and guidance for teens to build skills and reach their potential, as well as educational opportunities and future planning support for parents and caregivers.

Complimentary Consultations (virtual or in-person)

We can schedule time with you to get to know the needs of your teen and all of the caregivers involved in his or her life. We will also discuss services and supports relevant to this stage of the journey. We want to make the process of engaging with our organization as easy as possible for your family. If you are not sure what you need or how we can help, signing up for a consultation is the best step forward. There is something we can do at every step of the journey to support your family.

 

Skill-Building Series & Social Programming for Teens

Every quarter, we offer weekly, complimentary/free programming for teens to learn essential new skills, while also gaining important social skills by interacting among their peers. We know teens learn more when they have fun, which is why our programming is a great way to make new friends, gain independence, enjoy movement and physical activity, and best of all, have fun! Each quarter, we have a different theme, such as preparing for employment, kitchen skills, living a healthy lifestyle, and more!

Each quarter’s sessions then culminate with a celebration for all teens to gather and have fun! 

Our services and supports are rooted in our organization’s Six Pillars:

  1. Daily Living
  2. Community Engagement
  3. Communication and Social Skills
  4. Health, Wellness and Safety
  5. Self-Advocacy
  6. Vocational Development
Virtual Options!

We understand that there can be barriers to attending in-person services, which is why we also offer virtual options for teens with Down syndrome! Each quarter, we host Virtual Social Groups that focus on providing a structured environment for teens to socialize, learn, and have fun! Visit our events page to sign up!

Due to the generous support of our donors and grantors, these services are complimentary/free for families!

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Pathways Therapy Services

Down Syndrome Innovations offers interdisciplinary, family-centered therapeutic services to promote long-term success for teens with Down syndrome.

The Pathways team includes an occupational therapist (OT), a speech-language pathologist (SLP), and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The therapy team works by bringing together their unique, yet complementary, perspectives to help support skill acquisition across the home and community. Our team utilizes the Down Syndrome Innovations’ Lifespan Framework to guide goals and interventions across services.

Some services are designed for coaching caregivers and others are designed for direct intervention for your teen with Down syndrome. Pathways therapy services may take place on our Lifelong Learning Campus in Mission, KS or through teletherapy.

Learn more about Pathways Therapy Services.

If you are interested in learning more or enrolling, the first step is to get in touch with us!

Social Engagement (Therapeutic Small Groups)

Social Engagement is a therapeutic service that focuses on providing a supported environment where teens with Down syndrome can learn and practice social skills through specialized instruction from members of our therapy team.

Utilizing group instruction, a member of the therapy team meets with self-advocates of similar ages and skills to work on initiating conversations, conversational turn-taking, staying on topic, understanding hidden rules, and so much more.

These weekly therapeutic, small group sessions take place each quarter over a period of 8 weeks. The fee for this therapeutic service is $200 (ask us about county grant opportunities that often cover a portion of the cost of our therapeutic services).

Long-Term Planning Consultations

We are committed to preparing teens with Down syndrome for a meaningful, productive, and authentic adult life in the future. This requires providing assistance to parents and caregivers for future planning. This service provides individualized support to parents and caregivers to better prepare for the transition towards adulthood. Tasks and exercises may include contacting your local CDDO, applying for public funding, accessing local ID/DD services, learning about supported decision making, and defining action steps towards long-term goals. Our Lifespan Service Team will help you prioritize and plan according to your teen’s age and your family’s specific situation.

 

Resources

Down Syndrome Innovations provides essential, vetted resources to teen self-advocates, as well as parents and caregivers of teens with Down syndrome.

Health Care Information for Families of Teens with Down Syndrome

The Down Syndrome Health Care Guidelines are a thoughtful composite of the input of many experts involved in the care of people with Down syndrome. They reflect current standards and practices of health care in the United States of America. They have been designed for a wide audience: for health care professionals who are providing primary care, as well as specialists, nursing personnel and other allied health professionals, educators and early intervention providers, and parents and other caregivers.

Other Websites

We know that by partnering with other organizations that support our community, we are better together! That’s why we often feature other organizations and resources, so that your family has access to everything you might need throughout this journey!

Down Syndrome Clinic at Children's Mercy Hospital

Down Syndrome Clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital serves as a medical screening mechanism for children with Down syndrome from birth through adolescence, following the Health Care Guidelines created by the National Network of Medical Clinics for Children with Down syndrome. An experienced team of professionals with an expertise and interest in Down syndrome participate in a weekly Down Syndrome Clinic in which each provider meets with the scheduled patient and their family to review and evaluate the specific needs of each child.

Events

Check out our upcoming events for your loved one’s age range!

Functional Fitness education

Caregiver Education: Functional Fitness – VIRTUAL

Designed for all ages! Join us for a VIRTUAL educational seminar that will not only address the main health challenges of people with Down syndrome, but also how to... READ MORE

  • For All Ages!
  • Date:Tuesday, May 14th
  • Time:6:30 - 8:00 pm
  • Virtual Seminar
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here!
  • Fee:FREE: Funded by our donors, sponsors and grantors
Employment seminar sponsored by UnitedHealthcare

Preparing Kids and Adults with ID/DD for Employment – VIRTUAL

Designed for supporters of all ages! Join us for a VIRTUAL educational seminar on how to support your self-advocate when navigating their employment journey. Our Employment Coordinator, Amanda Myers,... READ MORE

  • Date:Thursday, April 25th
  • Time6:30 - 8:00 pm
  • Virtual Seminar
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here!
  • Fee:FREE: Funded by our sponsor, United Healthcare!
Dr. Gaffney healthcare education seminar

Navigating the Medical Journey: Helping Your Loved One Get the Best Health Care at Every Age

When you have a loved one with Down syndrome, figuring out all of the health care nuances can be a real challenge. How do you find the best fit... READ MORE

  • Date:Saturday, April 20th
  • Time:10 - 11:30 am
  • Location:Down Syndrome Innovations: 5916 Dearborn St, Mission, KS 66202
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here!
  • Fee:Donor-Funded / FREE due to the generosity of our donors, grantors and community partners!

Community Workouts for Teens and Adults

These workouts are inclusive exercise opportunities at various gyms around the Kansas City metro. Workouts are designed to improve functional strength and stamina. These occur at different locations every... READ MORE

  • Date:Ongoing
  • Time/s:Various Times
  • Location/sVarious Locations: throughout KC region
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here!
  • Fee:Donor-Funded / FREE

Caregiver Workshop: Addressing Relationships, Puberty and Sexuality

At Down Syndrome Innovations, our team understands that teaching your loved one with Down syndrome about puberty, sexuality, and relationships can feel very overwhelming. Using materials from the evidence-based... READ MORE

  • Date/Time:Mondays from 4:45 - 5:45 pm, Feb 26th
  • Location:Down Syndrome Innovations: 5916 Dearborn St, Mission, KS 66202
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here
  • FeeFREE: Funded by our donors from the Step Up Walk, Grantors and Community Partners!

Speech-Language Consultations – Pathways Therapy Service

Do you or other family members have trouble understanding your child? Are you concerned about limited vocabulary or language delays? Does your child use an alternative or augmentative communication... READ MORE

  • Date:Year-Round
  • Learn MoreClick Here!
  • Fee:Complimentary / FREE

DS-ASD Connection Group

DS-ASD Connection is a virtual gathering of caregivers to discuss resources, strategies, community supports, and challenges related to a child or adult’s current or potential dual-diagnosis of Down syndrome... READ MORE

  • Virtual Groups:Hosted Quarterly
  • Day/Time:Wednesday from 5:30 - 6:00 pm
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here
  • Fee:Donor-Funded / FREE thanks to the generosity of generosity of our donors and grantors.

Occupational Therapy Consultations – Pathways Therapy Service

Consider you and your self-advocate’s daily life, the things that occupy your time, and how you engage in the rhythms of life. Do you worry about how to help... READ MORE

  • Date:Year-Round
  • Learn More
  • Fee:Complimentary / FREE

Behavior Consultations – Pathways Therapy Service

Do behavior challenges make it difficult to complete daily routines such as getting ready for school or going to bed? Do you avoid activities or places because you fear... READ MORE

  • Date:Year-Round
  • Learn More
  • Fee:Complimentary / FREE

School-Age Support Consultations

Do you have concerns about behaviors or self-regulation in the home? Do you need help interpreting your child’s IEP or need strategies to better collaborate with your school team?... READ MORE

  • Date:Year-Round
  • To Learn More:Click Here!
  • CostDONOR-FUNDED / FREE
OT education

Caregiver Education: Building Skills for Independence & Self-Determination

Down Syndrome Innovations’ occupational therapist, Morgan Hodges, will provide strategies to caregivers and service providers for building skills for long-term independence and empowering your loved one to live a... READ MORE

  • For All Ages!
  • Date:Thursday. May 9th
  • Time:6:30 - 8:00 pm
  • LocationDown Syndrome Innovations: 5916 Dearborn St, Mission, KS 66202
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here!
  • Fee:Complimentary / FREE due to the generosity of donors and grantors

Social Engagement: Therapeutic Small Groups (for Teens & Adults 12+)

Social Engagement is a therapeutic service focused on providing a supported environment where teens and adults with Down syndrome can learn and practice social skills through specialized instruction from... READ MORE

  • Day/Time:Mondays from 5:00 - 6:00 pm
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here
  • Fee:8 Therapeutic Sessions for $220

*VIRTUAL* Social Groups (for Teens)

These VIRTUAL groups focus on providing a structured environment for teens to socialize, learn, and have fun!   Facilitated by Lifespan Services Team member, Lauren Holmes. Tuesdays from 5:00-5:45... READ MORE

  • Date/Time:Tuesdays from 5:00 - 5:45 pm
  • Learn More & RegisterClick Here!
  • Fee:FREE: Funded by our donors, grantors and Community Partners!

Health and Wellness Consultations

~Health & Wellness Consultations~ Would you like to talk to a health and wellness professional who understands Down syndrome to develop proactive strategies for incorporating more activity into your... READ MORE

  • Date:Year-Round
  • Learn More
  • CostComplimentary / FREE

Long-Term Planning Consultations

~Long-Term Planning Consultations~ We are committed to preparing your loved one with Down syndrome for a meaningful, productive, and authentic adult life! This requires future planning for parents and... READ MORE

  • Date:Year-Round
  • Learn More
  • CostComplimentary / FREE

Teen Skills Series: Building and Maintaining Friendships (On-Site)

Our Skills Series will consist of structured activities and semi-structured free time to help self-advocates age 12-18 spend time with friends and build on the friendships that they have... READ MORE

  • Date/Time:Mondays from 4:30 - 6:00 pm, beginning Feb. 26th
  • Location:Down Syndrome Innovations Campus: 5916 Dearborn Street, Mission KS 66202
  • To Learn More & Register:Click Here!
  • Fee:FREE: Funded by our donors, Grantors and Community Partners!
Ages 12 - 86

Teen Years

Welcome families of teens with Down syndrome! Down Syndrome Innovations offers opportunities and guidance for teens to build skills and reach their potential, as well as educational opportunities and future planning support for parents and caregivers.

We are on this journey with you, now and throughout the lifespan of your child. Consider us your lifetime provider on this journey.