Freewill Shakespeare Festival – Summer 2015

The Freewill Shakespeare Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces two Shakespearean plays for production in Hawerlak Park’s Heritage Amphitheatre each year. For 25 years, they have explored Shakespeare’s works, creating vibrant and engaging productions that bring Shakespeare’s humanity to the modern stage. This year they are presenting ‘As You Like It’ and ‘Coriolanus’ from June 23rd to July 19th.

An important part of their mandate is to keep the festival accessible to all audiences regardless of age, ability, education or income levels.

They have a very generous offer for our members.

Pay-What-You-Will performances. For both preview performances (June 23/24) and every Tuesday evening and Saturday matinee, guests can come for little as a dollar, or even a quarter.

They are happy to organize arrange seating for our group with advance notice for any of those performances.

Call for Volunteers

Our next EDSS casino been granted for Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13 at the Palace Casino in West Edmonton Mall.  The proceeds of this casino go directly to support our speech therapy programs and occur only once every two years.  This year we should realize close to $80,000.

We are looking for volunteers to occupy all positions over the two day period. Attached, please find the list of positions and the time schedule. No real experience is necessary; we have great advisors to help us throughout the two days.  To note, the hours which the tables are open for gaming have been extended, with gambling commencing at 10 am and closing at 3 am. All shifts have changed since our last casino.  Gail Faulkner will be coordinating all of the volunteers, please contact her directly. Volunteers receive a meal during their shift, and the food at the Palace is really pretty good. Gail will answer any questions you may have and sign you up.

Thanks so much for volunteering!

Schedule of Casino Volunteer Workers

Schedule of Casino Volunteer Workers

Will learning signs delay my child’s speech?

From the Signing Time™ website

Many parents fear that signing will delay or further delay speech. The experience of families who sign with their children is quite the opposite.

Signing Time has received endorsements from speech and language pathologists and other specialists encouraging the use of sign language with all children. Signing and using gestures to communicate is natural. Waving “bye bye”, pointing, and reaching arms up are simple signs used by most children.

Rachel Coleman, co-creator of Signing Time said, “When we found out Leah was deaf, many people warned us to be careful with signing. They said, ‘If she gets too comfortable signing, she will never speak.’ Their intentions were good, but they were absolutely wrong.

“Luckily, we first gave Leah a complete language in signs, only then was she able to take time to work on the skill of labeling those signs through her speech. English is a language. American Sign Language is a language. Spanish is a language. But speech, it is a skill.”

Giving your child a language before they are able to master the skill of verbal communication can help reduce your child’s frustrations. Signing also involves parents in a fun and easy way to help support communication goals at home.

Signing makes communication possible – or easier. Signs can be used as a primary communication tool, or to help clarify spoken words. If your goal is communication, then signing can meet that need before your child is developmentally able to speak.

Why Teach your Baby Sign Language?

From the Signing Time™ website

When children’s hands are moving, their minds are learning.

Children are able to understand language as early as 6 months, but the ability to speak requires complex fine motor skills that don’t develop until much later. The result is a frustration and tantrums.

On the other hands, the motor skills required to use sign language develop much sooner than spoken language.  Children who learn baby sign language can start using signs as early as 6 to 9 months! The result is a baby who can express her wants and needs.

For babies, sign language is a visual language. Many basic signs resemble what they mean. For example, to sign ball, you show the shape of a ball with your hands. See some examples on our Baby Sign Language Dictionary. This makes sign language fun and easy for kids.

Teaching your baby sign language can unlock the world around them and give their minds a head start.

  • Open a window to your child’s heart & mind
  • Reduce tantrums & increase bonding
  • Build vocabulary & instill confidence
  • Cognitive benefits of being bilingual

NEW! Support Group for Parents Of Young Adults with Down Syndrome

Parent and member, Kate Harrington (mom of Zoe Heide) would like to facilitate a Parent Group for members with young adults aged 14 to 30+. The purpose of the group is to provide support, encouragement and share information between parents who are facing, going through and have transitioned to the adult world of developmental disability.

The group will be a safe place to tell your stories, express your frustrations, share your triumphs and learn from each other so we all don’t have to take this journey alone.

We expect to meet for two hours, one evening per month at the EDSS office

Welcome Social – Tuesday, July 15 7 – 9 p.m.

Join us for light refreshments and a brief sharing circle, to learn more about this group.  Please RSVP and feel free to bring a friend.


Moms Group and Dads Group

These are fun evenings where moms or dads get together to share advice and stories. They are informal gatherings, ranging in group size, and may involve an activity.  This is a group for parents but babes in arms are welcome.

Contact the office for more information: 780-944-4224

Mom’s Group Schedule – 2015

Friday, Mar 27, 2015 – Host Valerie Myrmo

The next Mom’s Night Out will be hosted by Valerie Myrmo at her home in Millwoods, located at 3432-78 Street on Friday, March 27. Please RSVP, before Wed. March 25.

Babies and Toddler Drop-in

Ages: 0-5 Years
Duration: 0ngoing
Dates: Mondays, with the exception of stat holidays
Times: 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Maximum Participants: unlimited
Cost: Free to attend

Start the week out on a high note!

Siblings welcome in this open session in our Centre. Have some fun in a warm, dry playroom; meet other moms, grandma’s, aunties and caregivers; and feel free to bring your bag lunch to enjoy afterwards.

Our resource library is also open to visit and withdraw books, audio and visual materials, and play tools.

“Uniquely Me” video

At Uniquely Me 2014 Fashion Show and Fundraiser, we had the world premiere of “Uniquely Me” the song and video.  This piece was the brainchild of RJ and Rowena Cui of Planit Sound, who also produced the fundraising event.

This song reminds us all that being unique is a GOOD thing, and we need to celebrate that every single day.  So, come now, sing along with us and listen again!

Spencer West to speak at the Canadian Down Syndrome Conference

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is proud to announce Spencer West, activist, author, and renowned inspirational speaker will be joining us as Keynote speaker at the 2015 Canadian Down Syndrome Conference in Edmonton. The Canadian Down Syndrome Conference celebrates people with Down syndrome, their families, and professionals in the Down syndrome community.

Inspirational and charismatic, Spencer West is candid about the struggles he overcame after losing his legs at the age of five. Whether headlining corporate conferences, filling stadiums, or leading volunteer excursions for youth and adults in Kenya, Ghana and India, Spencer’s words have encouraged millions to stand up to difficult times, face challenges, embrace change, and learn the tangible skills each one of us can use to redefine what is possible both for organizations and individuals.

His many accomplishments, played out on the global stage, led him to teach others to redefine what is possible in their own lives.

Spencer’s inspirational life story will help us kick off our great conference weekend. More exciting announcements regarding speakers, registration, and panels will be made at soon!

We look forwarding to welcoming all of you to the Canadian Down Syndrome Conference, May 15 to 17, 2015 in Edmonton!

Dedicated to improving the lives of individuals born with Down syndrome