The DSAYR began almost 20 years ago when a group of parents from Newmarket, each having a child with Down syndrome, connected and decided that they can do something to better the lives of their children. Together, they eagerly began to find resources within their community that would benefit their children. At the same time, they promoted inclusiveness and awareness that these children had as much to offer as any children. Thanks to those families for their tireless work, as they still advocate for the Down syndrome community today!

  • Information for parents of new born children with Down Syndrome - we can arrange a New Parent Visit at your home, and we can provide a New Parent Package to help parents begin their journey;
  • Opportunities for improvement of skills to our members with DS, including Speech and Occupational Therapy for younger school aged children (Chatterbox Program), Music Therapy for all aged individuals, and Karate for our youth to reinforce gross motor skills, strength and confidence;
  • Opportunities for members to share mutual concerns, resource ideas and "best practices";
  • Information evenings where a guest speaker will present to our members regarding a topic of interest;
  • New Parent Get-togethers, where parents of newborn and young children have a safe and caring environment to ask questions and interact with other families;
  • Provide general information on Down syndrome to members and the general public;
  • Increase the community's awareness and understanding of the abilities of people with Down syndrome.

Who is eligible for our services/support?
The Down Syndrome Association of York Region accepts referrals from Early Intervention Services, Teachers, Principals, Education Workers, Families, Parents, Doctors, York Support Services Network, and the Toronto, Ontario and Canadian Down Syndrome Associations. We provide support and information to anyone in the community who requires assistance.

We are connected with the NeoNatal care units of various hospitals in York Region. This helps parents of new born children with Down syndrome to have a starting point with respect to this new, and often unexpected road they are about to take.

Executive & Committee Members

DSAYR Executive
Dave Sartor
Domenic Gentilini
Vice President
Communications & Database Manager
Anna Francescangeli (Calabretta)
Giovanna Arcella
Andy Brookes
Past President/Advisor to the Committee
Committee members
Celina Sturk
Newsletter Editor
Sacha Makkinga
New Parents Ambassador
Tracy Cacciotti
Telephone Administrator
Kevin Stewart
SEAC Rep - Public
Susan Wu
SEAC Rep - Public (Alternate)
Kathy Kawaja Bryden
SEAC Rep - Separate
Event Organizers
Lisa Bruce
Winterfest Organizer
Michelle McGowan & Celina Sturk
Summer Picnic
Gail Bonavolta
Wonderland Organizer
Luana Fazio
Buddy Walk Coordinator
Program Facilitators
Anna Francescangeli (Calabretta)
Chatterbox Facilitator


Recent News

Private member’s bill proposed to help those who receive prenatal diagnosis! http://www.dsao.ca/local-mom-behind-push-for-down-syndrome-legislation/


We are searching for a new SEAC Alternate Representative for the Separate School Board. If you wish to volunteer click below to send your details and interest.

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