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Empowerment Classes

Empowerment classes are offered to individuals with Down syndrome of all ages and abilities. These classes are offered on a quarterly basis and may include sign language, kitchen skills, physical therapy, art skills, music therapy, and much more. The purpose of our Empowerment Classes is to truly empower participants to learn a new skill or partake in a new activity. All of our classes have defined learning objectives and are led by certified professionals and/or experts in their field. In addition, we provide volunteers for natural support and encouragement. We want everyone to feel welcome at our programs. We will gladly work with you and/or your loved one to provide the most successful environment for learning or socializing.

Classes typically meet weekly over a 4-6 week period. In general, there is a $20 fee for an entire series of classes and registration is required. We offer financial assistance through our Community Participation Fund (click here). If you have additional questions about payment, please reach out to your Program Coordinator. We would be more than happy to assist you.

REGISTRATION FOR 1ST QUARTER (JAN, FEB, MAR) OPENS DECEMBER 1.


Physical Therapy

Ages: 0 – 1 years
Dates: Sundays, March 1 - March 29
Time: 3 - 4 PM
Location: ABC Pediatric Therapy - Red Bank, 
4325 Red Bank Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45227
Class Instructors:  Sarah Davis, PT; Alyssa Taylor, PT; Sandra Koopmans, PT - Each instructing therapist has many years of pediatric experience in working with children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome. Each has a passion that children become independent and reach their full potential.
Program Coordinator: Jena Wells, Early Matters Coordinator
Description: This class is a therapist-facilitated, progressive-building gross motor program focused on milestones for children diagnosed with Down syndrome 0-1 years old. This is a group physical therapy session. Each week, a different topic/technique will be discussed as a group, and then you will have time to practice with the therapist. Parents may ask the therapist about specific questions or concerns regarding their child.There will be one physical therapist at each session to speak with every family. We kindly ask that you do not bring siblings to this class.
Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will learn techniques to encourage development at home.
  2. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions to a licensed physical therapist.
  3. Participants will be able to interact with one another.

Register

Sign Language • Level 1

Ages: 0 – 5 years
Dates: Saturdays, January 25 - February 29
Time: 9 - 9:45 AM
Location: DSAGC Community Room, 4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite A Cincinnati, OH 45212

Class Instructor: Rachel James, M.A. ASL/English Interpretation/Interpreter - Rachel has worked as a sign language interpreter in the Cincinnati area for over 20 years. She lives in College Hill with her husband and two daughters, Ella and Natalie. Natalie, who is a kindergartener, has Down syndrome. Rachel is excited to help families learn to use basic signs for communication and fun!
Program Coordinator: Jena Wells, Early Matters Coordinator
Description:  This is a family class. Bring the siblings and each parent to learn sign language together for the entire household to benefit! Sign language is intended to help very young children to express their needs and wishes earlier than they could otherwise. Baby signing experts believe that frustration and tantrums can be avoided by closing the gap between desire to communicate and the ability to do so. This is a beginning sign class that teaches basic useful vocabulary for families. Each week follows a content theme: Food, Daily Routine, etc. We will also work on signing one fun song throughout the session. Sign language is intended to help very young children to express their needs and wishes earlier than they could otherwise.
Learning Objectives: 

  1. Families will learn signs, including food signs and signs related daily routines.
  2. Families will gain comfort and confidence with using signs to communicate/play.
  3. Families will learn a song to sing and sign at home.

      Sign Language • Level 2

      Ages: 0 – 5 years
      Dates: Saturdays, January 25 - February 29
      Time: 10 - 10:45 AM
      Location: DSAGC Community Room, 4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite A Cincinnati, OH 45212

      Class Instructor: Rachel James, M.A. ASL/English Interpretation/Interpreter - Rachel has worked as a sign language interpreter in the Cincinnati area for over 20 years. She lives in College Hill with her husband and two daughters, Ella and Natalie. Natalie, who is a kindergartener, has Down syndrome. Rachel is excited to help families learn to use basic signs for communication and fun!
      Program Coordinator: Jena Wells, Early Matters Coordinator
      Description: This is a family class. Bring the siblings and each parent to learn sign language together for the entire household to benefit! Sign language is intended to help very young children to express their needs and wishes earlier than they could otherwise. Baby signing experts believe that frustration and tantrums can be avoided by closing the gap between desire to communicate and the ability to do so. This is a sign language course that moves from vocabulary to simple sentences. Each week follows a content theme: Animals, Colors/Descriptive words, etc. We will also work on signing one fun song (or more) as class progresses. 
      Learning Objectives: 

      1. Families will learn signs, including animal signs and descriptive signs.
      2. Families will learn to form simple sentences.
      3. Families will learn a song to sing and sign at home.

      School Age Kitchen Skills

      Ages: 6 - 12 years
      Dates: Tuesdays, January 7 - February 11 (no class 1/21)
      Time: 5:30 - 6:15 PM
      Location: DSAGC Community Room, 4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite A Cincinnati, OH 45212

      Class Instructor:  Miles Meeden, Chef, Indian Hill Winter Club - Miles is married with a three-year old daughter, Olivia, who has Down syndrome. He graduated from Towson University and Midwest Culinary Institute. He has been a professional cook for 18 years. This is his 3rd Kitchen Skills class with the DSAGC.
      Program Coordinator: Joanie Elfers, School Age Matters Coordinator
      Description: 
       This series introduces participants to basic cooking skills and kitchen safety rules. They will learn how to use basic tools, including measuring cups, a dull knife, and mixing bowls and spoons. Miles will teach and encourage how participants can help in the kitchen at home!
      Learning Objectives: 

      1. Participants will learn basic kitchen safety.
      2. Participants will learn how to safely cut fruits and vegetables.
      3. Participants will learn how to pour ingredients and mix together with a spoon.

      Teen Kitchen Skills

      Ages: 13 - 17 years
      Dates: Tuesdays, January 7 - February 11 (no class 1/21)
      Time: 6:45 - 7:30 PM
      Location: DSAGC Community Room, 4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite A Cincinnati, OH 45212

      Class Instructor:  Miles Meeden, Chef, Indian Hill Winter Club - Miles is married with a three-year old daughter, Olivia, who has Down syndrome. He graduated from Towson University and Midwest Culinary Institute. He has been a professional cook for 18 years. This is his 3rd Kitchen Skills class with the DSAGC.
      Program Coordinator: Joanie Elfers, School Age Matters Coordinator
      Description: 
      This series introduces teenagers to cooking skills to gain some independence in the kitchen, as well as kitchen safety rules. They will learn how to use kitchen tools, including measuring cups, a “Curious Chef” knife, and mixing bowls and spoons. They will also learn how to properly use the toaster and microwave. Please note this series can be repeated to strengthen existing skills.
      Learning Objectives: 

      1. Participants will learn kitchen safety and how to clean up after cooking.
      2. Participants will learn how to safely cut simple foods (fruits and vegetables).
      3. Participants will learn how to pour ingredients and mix together with a spoon,
      4. Participants will learn how to make a snack independently, including ones that use a toaster and microwave.
      This class has reached capacity. If you are interested in joining the waiting list, please email EmmaG@dsagc.com.

      Adult Kitchen Skills

      Ages: 18 and up
      Dates: Thursdays, February 13 - March 12
      Time: 6:30 - 8 PM
      Location: Professional Reps, 5508 Fair Lane Cincinnati, OH

      Class Instructor:  Mike Henson, Chef/Food Service Consultant, TriMark - Mike was previously Executive Chef at restaurants including Nada, The Precinct, and Boca. Currently, Mike works with top restaurants around Cincinnati as a commercial food service equipment and supply consultant. He has been doing the cooking series for the last 5 years with our adults and met his wife through volunteering at the DSAGC.                                         
      Program Coordinator: 
      Christy Gregg, Adult Matters Coordinator
      Description: This is our entry-level Adult Kitchen Skills class. It can be repeated each year to strengthen skills in the kitchen. A professional chef and his assistant will teach adults how to use tools and appliances to prepare meals and oversee participants as they create their very own dishes! Throughout the 5-week session, adults will also learn about kitchen safety and tips to eat healthy!  Participants will host a family style dinner for the final night of the series to utilize and demonstrate skills learned.
      Learning Objectives: 

      1. Participants will learn basic kitchen safety.
      2. Participants will have introductions to knives, ovens, and stove top cooking.
      3. Participants will gain hands-on experience in the kitchen!
      This class has reached capacity. If you are interested in joining the waiting list, please email EmmaG@dsagc.com.

            Employment Readiness

            Ages: 18 and up
            Dates: Tuesdays, February 18 - March 24
            Time: 6:30 - 8 PM
            Location: DSAGC Community Room, 4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite A Cincinnati, OH 45212

            Class Instructors:  Calista Hargrove, MSOL, VP of Programs, Cincinnati Works - Calista is an experienced, results-oriented organizational development professional, with a record of achievement in strategic thinking and problem solving in developing and managing workforce development and post-secondary educational support services for individuals with economic disadvantages and/or disabilities.                        
            Program Coordinator: Christy Gregg, Adult Matters Coordinator
            Description: By participating in this 6 week interactive series, participants will learn about professionalism, character strengths, interviewing skills, and where to find employment support in their community. At the end of the series, participants will partake in mock interviews and a networking event. 
            Learning Objectives: 

            1. Participants will gain understanding of professional skills to assist in seeking employment.
            2. Participants will complete mock interviews and receive valuable feedback.
            3. Participants will engage in insightful refections and conversations through surveys and class discussions to develop a better understanding of their personal employment goals.

            Some of these resources were created by the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati (DSAGC). If you work for an outside organization or live outside the Greater Cincinnati area, please consider making a donation so we can maintain updated resources.