WorkFit is now in the North East / North West of England & South East Wales

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Due to its ongoing success, WorkFit has extended its reach and now has two dedicated Employment Development Officers: one covering the North East and North West of England and one covering South East Wales. We are actively looking for new employers to sign up in these regions as we have candidates ready, so if you would like to become a WorkFit employer, register for a no obligation, no fee assessment today at
We are delighted that award-winning restaurateur and chef Mitch Tonks has recently employed Sam in one of his restaurants. Sam already had an NVQ Level 2 in Hospitality and Catering so was well prepared for his new role.  Mitch and his staff have embraced the progressive ethos of WorkFit and are benefiting hugely from their new colleague’s input.  Mitch said
You can become a great chef or a great restaurant manager if you have the aspiration, it’s all about the attitude and that’s what we recognised in Sam … it’s helped us to become better people in our business; to help others who are perhaps in a different place in the world to us…”
 You can hear everything that Mitch has to say in this exclusive film: The RockFish Grill
We have placed people in other organisations large and small: from The National Trust, JoJo Maman Bébé, Cardiff University, Donna Karen and Travelodge to family-run, independent companies e.g. Brown’s Hairdressing Group, Morgan Richardson Insurance Brokers Ltd and Carter Chemists.  All of the employers have successfully tapped into a new talent pool of people, raising work aspirations across their businesses.
To become a WorkFit employer, sign up at or contact your local WorkFit Employment Officer on: 0333 1212 300,


Posted in WorkFit

ASC/DS Meeting for Parents | 4 October 2014

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By Stuart Mills | Information Officer | Down’s Syndrome Association

For the last few years we have held two meetings a year for families with a child with a dual diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition/Down’s Syndrome (ASC/DS). At our recent meeting there was a very good turnout with 26 parents and siblings who ensured that the day was lively, thought provoking and good humoured. We started the day with each family introducing their child and showing a photo of them.

As usual, we struggled to fit everything in with parents really keen to share their experiences with other parents who understood where they were coming from. For some, it was their first contact with the DSA and for others it was their first time at an ASC/DS Meeting. One mum said that she felt overwhelmed at visiting DSA’s offices and being surrounded by other parents ‘like her’. Many of the parents at the meeting felt that they did not fit into either the world of Down’s syndrome or the world of Autism. This makes our meetings and information sharing via the ASC/DS email forum all the more valuable because parents now feel that they have their own place.
Dr Jeremy Parr (Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant in paediatric neurodisability, Institute of Neuroscience, University of Newcastle) joined us via Skype to talk about whether we can improve our ability to make ASC diagnoses in young children with Down syndrome. Jeremy discussed why families may want to pursue a dual diagnosis for their child with Down’s syndrome. He suggested that an additional label aids understanding by professionals, families and friends and enables access to appropriate support and interventions. Jeremy’s research has lead him to believe that, if it happens at all, age 5 years might be an appropriate time for ASC screening to happen where parents have concerns about their child.
Dr Georgina Warner (Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London) talked about her research project looking at ‘Autism Symptoms and Behavioural Disturbances in Children with Down Syndrome in England and Wales’.
Georgina sent 1382 questionnaires called ‘Differences among children with Down syndrome’ to members of the DSA in England and Wales, and received 499 back. She considered it likely that families who had identified their child as somewhat ‘different’ to the stereotypical perception of DS were more likely to have responded as they personally identified with the title of the study. 37.7% of the children whose parents responded met the threshold for ASC.
Previous studies showed that around 15-20% of people with DS screen positive for ASC. Georgina’s research also shows that those with ASC/DS have an atypical profile which may be why parents find it difficult to get a diagnosis. Parents have told us that professionals have sometimes dismissed their worries about dual diagnosis on the grounds that their child does not have a certain trait typically found in people with just ASC. It may be that Georgina’s research will begin to raise awareness of ASC/DS, alter thinking about how this group of children present and lead to the development of more appropriate screening tools which improve diagnosis.
One of the messages that came across loud and clear from parents is the need to educate and inform professionals about ASC/DS. Despite the growing body of evidence around the co-existence of ASC/DS, parents told us that they often struggle to obtain a diagnosis for their child. To this end we are hoping to work with Dr Warner to look at ways to highlight her findings to relevant professionals so that awareness of the dual diagnosis is raised. Early detection of autism characteristics is important in order to receive appropriate intervention and support.
Feedback from one parent at the end of the meeting simply read ‘I am not alone!’
For information about future meetings please see the ASC/DS section our website.


Posted in ASC/DS Meetings, General

Spanish holiday

Originally posted on Down 2 Earth Magazine Editor's Blog:

Spanish holiday

Kate and her mum and dad, Sister Lorraine went on holiday.

We   went   together   by taxi to the Airport. It took a long time to get   though and we did.

I  was excited  as we were flying in the air, it was relaxing. We landed in Palma.  I did not stop Smiling

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A   taxi took us to the Cala Romantica Hotel it was a hot day. It was   lovely we had lovely rooms.

We had a balcony  we could see the Sunsets in early  evenings.  We looked around the complex. They had a big swimming pool.

The food was lovely,  the Staff were so friendly. Every day we had wonderful weather.

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They had Entertainment  in the evenings.  We loved visiting places  in Porto Cristo and Cala Millor  where they had

Beautiful beaches  we went swimming in  the sea it was warm.

Porto cristo is a historic place where…

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October Down2Earth – Apps, Websites and Technology

Originally posted on Down 2 Earth Group (London):

Hi readers – welcome to the latest update from Down2Earth Group. Here’s what we got up to last week:

Down2Earth met up last Sunday to discuss technology and websites. First, we had a quick catch up on what we’ve all been up to – here’s a quick clip of Krystyna talking about her job and Tessy talking about her latest art project:

Poseidon and apps

After catching up and reminding ourselves of the rules of the group (listen when someone is talking, respect each other, turn off your mobile phone), we moved on to a presentation from Alexandra. Alexandra is a researcher for the POSEIDON Project, which is an EU funded project making technology and apps for people with Down’s syndrome. The projects wants to help people with Down’s syndrome live more independently. You can find out more about it here: POSEIDON Project.

Alexandra told us all about POSEIDON…

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Posted in Uncategorized

A big thank you to all my readers

Originally posted on Down 2 Earth Magazine Editor's Blog:

A thank you message from me

I want to say a big  thank  you  for all  for all your Letters and Comments  on my Blog and

Down2Earth Magazine. I  am  glad to see the interest  my  blog has  created. I enjoy reading

your   comments   from all around the   world   and I  hope to   encourage   other   People

To  pursue  their  interests  and  dreams.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Down2Earth group’s first ever blog post!

Originally posted on Down 2 Earth Group (London):

Hi everyone! Down2Earth group is a focus group of people with Down’s syndrome. We meet every month and talk about different topics. The Down2Earth group helps the DSA make sure the voices of people with Down’s syndrome shape what we do. We also have lots of fun (and cake)! Down2Earth group met on Sunday 7th September. We all hadn’t met for a while so we told each other what we had done over the summer. Lots of people had been holiday or visited friends and family. After a catch up, we talked about self esteem. The first thing we talked about was what makes us happy. The group came up with lots of great ideas of things that make them happy – including spending time with friends and family, Grange Hill, being with positive people and much more!


Some of the things which make the Down2Earth Group happy

We then talked about our advice…

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Originally posted on Down 2 Earth Magazine Editor's Blog:

I  have now gone back to  dancing  and Swimming and Learning

Lots  of  new techniques. I  can Swim over 25 Lengths doing

Front Crawl  and backstroke.

The  Larodina dance group  are practising  modern and Ballet.

The Act too Dance Company we are working towards Dance Awards featuring

Disco fever, and Ballet.

I  go to a Swimming Club called the Dolphins and we have our

Own  Gala’s. I  also go to Feltham which has its own gala, and I  Swim Against Other People.

Also  Last  Saturday  it   was  my Mum’s  75th Surprise birthday Party.

My  Sisters Amy and Lorraine Organised the Party  and guests and my dad

Drove us to  my Sisters  house and mum thought  we Were having a roast dinner

but  we Surprised  her with a lovely  tea Party.

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Mum was really  Surprised  and was really happy  to seeing  everyone. She had a Ball

Mum   had lots of…

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