Canadian Down Syndrome Week: Client Spotlight

It’s Canadian Down Syndrome Week! Did you know that there are about 45,000 Canadians with Down syndrome? At Surrey Place, we’re proud to promote inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities all year round. We know that individuals with Down syndrome are thriving and valued members of the community, just like anyone else

We recently asked Nick, a Surrey Place client with Down syndrome, to tell us a bit about himself. We also had a chance to hear from his parents, Michael and Carol, who shared some additional insight with us about Nick’s life.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Nick: I am Nick Ashton and I am 38 years old. I like to watch lots of movies – action, horror, TV shows, and classic. I have almost 500 Blu-rays and DVDs. 

Michael and Carol: Nick enjoys re-arranging and categorizing these movies. 

Nick: I also play video games with my brother and my sisters – I win sometimes. 

Michael and Carol: Nick’s brother lives in Kansas City, one sister lives in Vancouver, and his other sister lives in Toronto. He really enjoys playing games with them and it is a good way for him to maintain some social contact. 

That’s great! We know the pandemic has been a difficult time for many, so it’s great to stay connected with your family and friends. 

Nick: I also like going to Pegasus (my day program) and I like doing my job. 

Michael and Carol: Nick has a cleaning job at the Pegasus store which he takes very seriously. He has friends at the day program that he has known for many years. Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit, he suddenly wasn’t able to go. He has only recently started back at Pegasus and in a very limited capacity. The combination of COVID-19, isolation, and Nick’s Down syndrome have been very challenging for him. We have survived so far but we are looking forward to life getting back to normal. 

Can you tell us about your connection to Surrey Place? 

Michael and Carol: Nick was involved with the Infant Stim program at Surrey Place when he was a baby. This was a terrific service for him, and it gave us a great increase in confidence. It was an in-home service, so it provided us with much needed social support as well. Recently Pascale [Application Assessor at Developmental Services Ontario – Toronto Region] has supported us and Nick in the DSO assessment process. She has been very helpful and gracious with us and Nick. 

We’re so happy to help! Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? 

Michael and Carol: Nick knows that he was born with Down syndrome but does not like to talk about it because he prefers to see himself as everyone else. He is very confident in his own abilities and in his communication skills. He has a repertoire of skills so that if someone doesn’t understand him, he can make sure that they do. 

It’s been a pleasure to get to know you, Nick! Thank you, Nick, Michael, and Carol, for the lovely conversation.

Learn more about the Developmental Services – Toronto Region here.

Resources You May Like:

By 2 months

Has your baby had their hearing screened? YES NO

By 6 months

Does the child?

Startle in response to loud noises? YES NO
Turn to where a sound is coming from? YES NO
Make different cries for different needs (hungry, tired)? YES NO
Watch your face as you talk? YES NO
Smile/laugh in response to your smiles and laughs? YES NO
Imitate coughs or other sounds such as ah, eh, buh YES NO

By 9 months

Does the child?

Respond to their name? YES NO
Respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door? YES NO
Understand being told no? YES NO
Get what they want through using gestures (reaching to be picked up)? YES NO
Play social games with you (Peek-a-Boo)? YES NO
Enjoy being around people? YES NO
Babble and repeat sounds such as babababa or duhduhduh? YES NO

By 12 months

Does the child?

Follow simple one-step directions (sit down)? YES NO
Look across the room to a toy when adult points at it? YES NO
Consistently use three to five words? YES NO
Use gestures to communicate (waves hi/bye, shakes head for no)? YES NO
Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes? YES NO
Bring you toys to show you? YES NO
Perform for social attention and praise? YES NO
Combine lots of sounds together as though talking (abada baduh abee)? YES NO
Show an interest in simple picture books? YES NO

By 18 months

Does the child?

Understand the meaning of in and out, off and on? YES NO
Point to more than 2 body parts when asked? YES NO
Use at least 20 words consistently? YES NO
Respond with words or gestures to simple questions (Where's teddy? What's that?)? YES NO
Demonstrate some pretend play with toys (gives teddy bear a drink, pretends a bowl is a hat)? YES NO
Make at least four different consonant sounds (p ,b, m, n, d, g, w, h)? YES NO
Enjoy being read to and sharing simple books with you? YES NO
Point to pictures using one finger? YES NO

By 2 years

Does the child?

Follow two-step directions (Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma.)? YES NO
Use 100 to 150 words? YES NO
Use at least two pronouns (you, me, mine)? YES NO
Consistently combine two to four words in short phrases (Daddy hat. Truck go down.)? YES NO
Enjoy being around other children? YES NO
Begin to offer toys to other children and imitate other children's actions and words? YES NO
Use words that are understood by others 50 to 60 per cent of the time? YES NO
Form words or sounds easily and without effort? YES NO
Hold books the right way up and turn the pages? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 30 months

Does the child?

Understand the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little/a lot, more)? YES NO
Use some adult grammar (two cookies, bird flying, I jumped)? YES NO
Use over 350 words? YES NO
Use action words such as run, spill, fall? YES NO
Participate in some turn-taking activities with peers, using both words and toys? YES NO
Demonstrate concern when another child is hurt or sad? YES NO
Combine several actions in play (puts blocks in the train and drives the train, drops the blocks off.)? YES NO
Put sounds at the beginning of most words? YES NO
Use words with two or more syllables or beats (ba-na-na, com-pu-ter, a-pple)? YES NO
Recognize familiar logos and signs involving print (Stop sign)? YES NO
Remember and understand familiar stories? YES NO

By 3 years

Does the child?

Understand who, what, where and why questions? YES NO
Create long sentences using five to eight words? YES NO
Talk about past events (trip to grandparents house, day at child care)? YES NO
Tell simple stories? YES NO
Show affection for favourite playmates? YES NO
Engage in multi-step pretend play (pretending to cook a meal, repair a car)? YES NO
Talk in a way that most people outside of the family understand what she/he is saying most of the time? YES NO
Have an understanding of the function of print (menus, lists, signs)? YES NO
Show interest in, and awareness of, rhyming words? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 4 years

Does the child?

Follow directions involving three or more steps (First get some paper, then draw a picture and give it to Mommy)? YES NO
Use adult type grammar? YES NO
Tell stories with a beginning, middle and end? YES NO
Talk to try and solve problems with adults and with other children? YES NO
Show increasingly complex imaginary play? YES NO
Talk in a way that is understood by strangers almost all the time? YES NO
Generate simple rhymes (cat-bat)? YES NO
Match some letters with their sounds (letter b says buh, letter t says tuh)? YES NO