Posted in Adult Day Programs for Special Needs, Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism, Recreation/Leisure and Special Needs

DS-ASD~Fall Update 2019

DS-ASD~Fall Update 2019

Happy first day of fall 🙂! Here is an update on my son, Nick who is 25 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). My son attends an adult developmental training day program which he enjoys very much. The program has a nice variety of learning and enrichment activities incorporated throughout the day. Outside this program, Nick enjoys spending time with his personal support respite workers in the community going out to eat, movies, parks and other activities.

Some of the highlights of Nick’s day program are community trips, including shopping, visits to parks and local amusements along with going out to eat. In house, the curriculum includes learning centers, communication, functional living skills, recreation, music, movies, gardening, crafts, cooking, Friday fun days and other themes round out this program each week.

Here are a few pictures of Nick at his adult developmental training program:

nick sweeping keeler      Nick nature walk keeler     Nick visor keeler      Nick learning centers keeler

nick connect game

On 9/11 the clients at his program made thank you cards for local first responders. Here’s Nick giving cards to a police officer:

Nick and APD

Nick’s verbal skills are limited, due to having the additional diagnosis of autism and verbal apraxia of speech along with Down syndrome. He uses an Augmentative and Alternative (AAC) device and picture exchange system (PECS) to communicate his needs. There are two ways that I know that he likes going to his day program. Over the weekend, he packed his lunch and put it in his backpack, which he set by the front door. He also took the school icon out of his PECS book and puts it on a Velcro task strip and handed it to me. It’s nice to see how much he wants to go to this program. The routine and structure helps individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities navigate their days successfully.

That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa 🙂

Follow Nick and see more pictures of him in action, along with other stories:

Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism

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Twitter @tjunnerstall




Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Fun Side of Nick

Blog #105~ Furry Friends and Special Needs Families

Blog #105~ Furry Friends and Special Needs Families

I wish that my iPhone camera was set to video last Friday. Nick came home from school and he was so excited to hear a tiny meow.  We adopted a new kitten from the shelter.  His face just lit up.  He was so excited and delighted saying, “Yay, kibbie!”  (That is how Nick says “kitty”)  Nick has Down syndrome and autism.  He also has verbal apraxia so his speech is limited.  Yet, I am always amazed at some of the words he says. Many are things that he is passionate about. Here are a few: Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Sprite, cake, shower, Harold -from Thomas the Tank Engine, and yes….. a couple of expletives as well.

In Nick’s communication book he has many picture icons to request things and share his feelings. On many occasions, Nick has handed me these two icons paired together………

Mellie Sad Icons

We had to put down our 17-year-old cat last summer. Miss Mellie was such a big part of the family. Nick had a lot of fun with her over the years.  I’ve dedicated several blogs about their relationship……

Here is a hint of what you can find on the blogs above……Splat!

photo (112)

Despite all the mischievous things Nick has done, Miss Mellie would still snuggle up with him……


Our new kitten is a sweet tabby as well. She’s 5 months old, loves to cuddle and has a nice deep purr.  She is spirited yet not destructive, and even plays fetch!  I’ll post some footage of her fetching on The Facebook page, “Down Syndrome with a Slice of Autism” this Friday.  Nick has been swinging some of the wands that dangle cat toys for her.  He is a little skittish when she wants to rub up around his legs.  But otherwise, the two are getting along nicely.

Introducing the new furry family member……

Kibbie one

So, you may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned her name yet. We are taking a few days to observe her personality and see what suits her.  Nick’s brother (Hank), came in from NIU to meet her and brainstorm names.

Hank and kitty…..

Hank and Kitty

I think she is settling in nicely….

Kibbie Two

I posted pictures on Facebook on Friday. My friend Kendra, suggested naming the kitten the first thing that Nick puts on her. Well if we do that, her name thus far would either be “Sneezy” or……….


snots the dog

I look forward to sharing more about Nick and the adventures of our new furry family member. Stay tuned for the announcement of her name. And in the meantime, I’ll keep the shaving cream and fajita seasoning locked up.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa 🙂