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Association helps Oklahomans with Down syndrome

Hundreds of Oklahomans find education and friendship through the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma.
BY HENRY DOLIVE, For The Oklahoman Published: May 13, 2013

Breakthroughs in research, advances in speech therapy and more emphasis on acceptance and inclusion are making life easier for people with Down syndrome.

That hopeful message was delivered this month to about 150 parents, educators, clinical professionals and caregivers during the fifth annual conference of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma.

Conference sessions centered on speech therapy approaches, research advances and effective approaches toward helping people with developmental delays.

Ivan and Dana Poulter, of Edmond, are the parents of Nathaniel, 5, who has Down syndrome.

Dana Poulter is president of the association and said it has grown substantially since its founding in 2000.

“The goal of our association is to be a resource for families, educators and the medical community,” she said.

Poulter said that after their son was born, they contacted the association and were put in contact with other parents.

“We share with each other what is working and not working,” she said. “We rally together.”

Robert Powell and his wife, Marne, of Edmond, are parents of a 2-year-old son with Down syndrome. Robert Powell said the association has been an excellent resource for them as they search for information about how best to help their son, Rob.

“We didn't have prenatal discovery. We found out a day after he was born,” Powell said.

He said the association connected them with other families and provided answers to a number of their questions.

The Powells have two other children, neither of whom have developmental disabilities.

“Before we had little Rob, we didn't have much experience with the disabled community,” said Powell, who owns a commercial cleaning business. “We're hoping to learn as much as we can.”

Response to this year's conference has been encouraging, said Megan Winkler, executive director of the association. The conference was sponsored jointly by the state Education Department Special Education Services, Oklahoma Speech-Language-Hearing Association and State Rehabilitative Services Department.

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Fundraisers and events

The Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma sponsors a fundraising Buddy Walk and golf tournament each year and has quarterly breakfasts for new parents, workshops, holiday-themed family events and teen/self-advocacy events. For more information, call 463-5641 or go to

The goal of our association is to be a resource for families, educators and the medical community. ... We share with each other what is working and not working. We rally together.”

Dana Poulter,
Down Syndrome Association

of Central Oklahoma


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