Italian Down’s syndrome Association ONLUS Pisa
The Italian Down’s syndrome Association was founded in Pisa in 1988. The association is a point of reference for families and social, health and educational operators for issues regarding Down’s syndrome. Its aim is to protect the rights of people with Down’s syndrome, to promote their full physical and mental development, to contribute to their scholastic and social integration, to raise awareness about their real abilities, and to spread knowledge about the syndrome.
To pursue these objectives, the association develops specific projects for: :
- Helping family members – from the first critical phase of the acceptance process – psychological support, information, practical support, as well as opportunities to meet and exchange information and experiences;
- Facilitating the integration of children and young people with Down’s syndrome into schools at all levels;
- Promoting activities for integrating those with Down’s syndrome into society and in the world of work , and ensuring their acceptance at all levels along with managing projects for developing personal and autonomy and vocational training courses;
- Setting up adequate facilities and services to meet all their adult needs, including accommodation, as required by current regulations, assuming direct management where necessary;
- Creating a network of consultants made up of doctores, health care professionals, schools and social organizations who are sensitive and interested in the issues regarding Down’s syndrome, in order to achieve better general care; Disseminating knowledge of the operational, legislative and social security tools available to those with Down’s syndrome.
What do we do with Down’s syndrome Association in Pisa?
We collaborate on the most ambitious project, the most difficult goal:
Let’s Set Up Home – The right to grow up!
Currently in Italy well over half of those with Down’s syndrome are adults. Their life expectancy has increased from 12 in the 1940s, to 62 in the 2000s. Since 2003, the association in Pisa has always set autonomy as a high priority. Through discussions with parents and children regarding live outside the home, the association began to reflect on the move from their original family home towards their home. This is seen not only as a necessity but as a choice for an independent life. This is how the Casa Nostra (our home) project came to life, a home for weekends in the city, a home where those start with Down’s syndrome could begin experiencing living in an apartment and at the same time being separated from their family. Let’s Set Up Home is the continuation of Casa Nostra. A new and more difficult challenge: to get as close as possible to organizating daily life independently. The aims of Let’s Set Up Home are to:
- Improve the quality of life of adults with Down’s syndrome.
- Adopt a soft entry approach to housing autonomy for young people with Down’s syndrome.
- Adopt a soft entry approach to job placement for young people with Down’s syndrome
- Promote social inclusion and citizen solidarity
- Three 3-year pathways of independent living within a neighborhood of solidarity and assistance.
- Neighborhood involvement: meeting with the inhabitants, organizing events, building a social network.
- A individually-tailored training and job placement course running in parallel to the two points above.