Families in Saskatoon celebrated World Down Syndrome Day with the grand opening of a specialized learning centre in its new, larger space.
Ability In Me (AIM) provides therapy and language programs to people with Down syndrome from infancy up until the age of 22. Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall was the special guest. The provincial government provided the centre with $720,000 over two years through the Ministry of Education.
“It’s a growing economy that allows us to make investments like this,” Wall said.
AIM executive director Tammy Ives approached the government and proposed a learning centre similar to the one she’d been taking her son to in Calgary.
They’ve been operating for just over a year in a church basement, she said. Now, the group has its own space in a building on Millar Avenue.
“We expanded a lot quicker than what we were expecting and really needed our own space. It’s about families connecting with other families and knowing that they’re not alone,” Ives said.
She estimates the new space will be able to accommodate more than 100 students. Seventy-eight families have signed up for AIM and 69 of them regularly attend programs.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which occurs when the 21st chromosome is tripled instead of doubled, causing varying degrees of intellectual and physical disabilities.