About: Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism


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



Down syndrome

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 available now on Amazon order here at: https://amzn.to/2W3Un6X


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.

Number 28

About Nick:


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?



E-mail: tjunnerstall@comcast.net

Follow Nick on Social Media:

Facebook page, Instagram and Pinterest:  Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/downsyndromewithasliceofautism/

INSTAGRAM:  https://www.instagram.com/downsyndromewithasliceofautism/

LINKEDIN: Teresa Unnerstall

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/tjunnerstall



7 thoughts on “About: Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism

  1. Is there a way to subscribe to this blog or does it have a FB link? Very good blog. Would you mind emaling me the info ? thank you very much

    1. At the top of the page on the gray bar there is a place on the left side to click on and follow. Let me know if this doesn’t send you an alert. I think that should do it. Thank you for reading 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your life!!!!!!!! I have 3 sons- one severely Autistic+ADHD, one very high functioning+gifted autistic, and one just a regular kid (well as much as he can be growing up in our households). Kendra turned me on to your site, I haven’t had a chance to read all of it yet, but especially loved the ‘Brotherly Love’
    Thanks again
    -Nikki P. in Pleasanton

  3. Teresa, I so enjoy reading your posts. You are an inspiration to me. My son, Ian age 6, diagnosed DS-ASD greets every day with a big infectious smile. I am very thankful to happen upon your blog.

    1. Those smiles are the best (and make up for all the other things we deal with our kids) don’t they? Thanks for reading and let me know if you have anything you’d like to know more about. Keep in touch! 🙂

  4. I love your blog – thank you so so so much for sharing your life with Nick! My little guy Dale is 15. He also has Down syndrome and autism, along with a host of other health problems. He is nonverbal, but with the help of aba and a behavior specialist, is finally communicating with a picture system. He is doing great now, and I love that every day is a new adventure for him!

    Nick is so beautiful – he and Dale look a lot alike!

    It is so great to connect with other families out there. It really helps me when things get a little wild around here :-).

    Have a great day!

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