Welcome to Down Syndrome With a Slice of Autism….
This blog is all about Nick’s world….The rest of us are just trying to keep up. Each post will contain information, musings, and rants about my life with Nick who is 26 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). Topics are related to everything under the umbrella of special needs. The information is provided for parents, teachers, caregivers, therapists, and anyone touched by a child having special needs.
Blog categories include:
Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC)
Adult Day Programs
Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD)
Doctors and Dentists
Down syndrome Awareness
Government funding and legal issues
Health Issues and Down Syndrome
Parenting and Special Needs
Special Needs Resources
Special Needs Parenting
Therapies (OT, Speech, and PT)
Tech/AAC (communication devices)
The Fun Side of Nick
About Teresa Unnerstall:
Teresa is the author of “A New Course: A Mother’s Journey Navigating Down Syndrome and Autism forthcoming this May 2020.
Teresa is also a consultant, for the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area, offering expertise on dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). She is the mother of two boys and lives in the Chicago area along with her husband. Her youngest son, Nick has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). She has published articles and book reviews related to the special needs population. Teresa is a speaker and advocate in the community and a frequent guest lecturer at Aurora University and Northern Illinois University. In addition, Teresa has worked in the fitness field teaching for over 30 years. Her hope is to reach out to families and the community to show the real story of what it is like inside the trenches of every aspect of having a child with many special needs.
Nick is a spirited young man with an infectious smile, who loves life. He graduated from Metea Valley High School and the STEPS post-secondary transition program, where he worked on vocational skills along with having jobs both at the campus and in the community. Currently, Nick attends an adult developmental day training program which provides a wide range of skill development, vocational opportunities, and community trips.
Having a dual diagnosis of DS-ASD has unique challenges with behavior and speech. There are speech and are cognitive delays, but he offers much to those in his world. If anything, he keeps the teaching staff, respite workers and family on point with his quick reflexes. You see, besides his day program work, music, movies, swimming, going out to eat and to the movies, Nick has a passion for pulling fire alarms. Nick has taught the world many things such as patience, compassion, humor. Whatever you do, make sure you scout the area for those fire alarms….otherwise he will beat you to it! That’s Nick’s world, the rest of us are just trying to keep up.
Nick riding in the fire truck at the Outer Banks, in Duck, NC. So, how many fire alarms has Nick pulled?
CURRENT FIRE ALARM PULL COUNT=54!!!!!!!!
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