Contributions for the Associazione AVVENTUNO, CH Ticino

The Giorgio Deiana Foundation is pleased to support the Avventuno Association of Carabietta (Switzerland, Canton of Ticino) for its inclusion projects and equal opportunities in leisure time, aimed at children and young people with Down syndrome.

The AVVENTUNO association aims to accompany people with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and their families in all areas of life. The association is made up of a steering committee and a scientific commission, and is part of the International Down Syndrome, T21 Research Society and the European Down Syndrome Association.
The association supports minors with Down syndrome residing in Ticino with direct services; it also provides specialist and/or training support for the specificities of the syndrome to a network of over 400 professionals active in the medical, educational and rehabilitation fields.
Among the usual activities of AVVENTUNO there are consultancy, training, accompaniment for inclusion, support in the world of work, sport and leisure, creation of publications and organization of symposia and conferences. Particular attention is paid to the scientific aspect and to evidence-based best practices, so that quality of life and self-determination are accompanied by lasting changes.

For the summer of 2022, the Giorgio Deiana Foundation offers support on three projects dedicated to inclusion and equal opportunities in leisure time. The decision to carry out these initiatives with a short notice, added to the regular offers, derives from these difficult years of pandemic in which the important social relations and the exchange of experiences has partly failed.

1-Residential seminar for families of children and teenagers with Down syndrome: a moment of exchange and great emotions for all family members. Specific activities will be offered for parents (spaces for sharing and narration, specialist training, round tables, moments of relaxation) and for children and teenagers, divided into subgroups by age group (music workshop, theater and dance, creation of video clips, educational farm, etc.). The aim of the residential seminar is to provide families with concrete tools to cope with the enriching, albeit sometimes tiring, path of being parents of children who have an intellectual disability.

2-DADO – activities for young people with Down syndrome: the DADO group regularly offers outings for adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome, accompanied by typically developing peers. Together, the group decides how to organize their free time. Teenagers and young adults with Down syndrome often have to limit their leisure activities to outings with siblings or with their parents. Despite the intellectual disability, however, the need for self-affirmation and self-determination characteristic of this age is no different from peers without disabilities, and it is an important step towards autonomy. The planning of activities takes place taking into consideration the requests and preferences of the group as well as the chosen area, trying to make proposals that can be accessed by families from all over the Ticino area. The results of the project are constantly monitored: important results are also obtained on individual development. During the DADO project, educators are made aware of the importance of fostering the autonomy of the participants.

3-SUMMER CAMPS – Inclusion of children with Down syndrome in regular summer camps: through this initiative, the Avventuno association promotes the inclusion of children with Down syndrome in regular summer camps offered by various organizations in the Ticino area. To make it possible for the children to participate actively, the association organizes the presence of an additional support person. Children with intellectual disabilities can generally take part, during the summer, in special or integrated day or residential camps organized by disability associations. In addition to these options, AVVENTUNO supports in a practical sense the inclusion of children with Trisomy 21 in regular summer camps with the aim of offering new opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities and a new experience for typically developing children. Families of children with Down syndrome are encouraged to choose a summer camp that meets their needs and those of their child. Once the registration has been confirmed, the AVVENTUNO Association contacts the organizers and offers concrete support to promote inclusion, consisting of preliminary interviews with the educators and the presence of a person on an internship (maximum 2 weeks per family). The short-term outcome (social participation of the child with Down syndrome in an inclusive context) is accompanied by important long-term results, with organizations that – after the first year – declare themselves ready to include children also for the following years.