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What a journey it has been. I want to send my deepest gratitude to all the amazing children, families, and colleagues that I have had the pleasure of walking alongside over the last 20+ years. This year is a season of changes; my kids are all grown up and launching into their new lives and this offers me the space to pursue new opportunities and challenges in my life. I will be leaving NWDSA/ABI the end of June. I will always hold in a special place the opportunities I had to be of service. Maybe I will see you again in the future. Warmest regards and, as my dear mother always said, every day look for something beautiful!

Angela Frome
Director of Operations & Programs NWDSA/ABI

This last year has been many things for us including isolation, fear, disability discrimination, information, ableism, challenges, lack of disability access, creativity, dissemination, outreach, growth, and successes. The pandemic has further revealed how important it is that disability is included in every equity conversation, including transition and higher education conversations about students with intellectual developmental disabilities accessing college.


Dear Portland State University Provost, Dean, and Equity Offices,
After many years of passionate advocacy, and with the support of their families and educators, youth with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) finally realized their dream of attending college. PSU also took a phenomenal step forward in its commitment to equity and access to a marginalized population that had been segregated and excluded.

As of March 9, 2021, the discriminatory, expanded Public Charge rule is permanently BLOCKED, and is no longer in effect anywhere in the United States. Now, immigrants can safely get public benefits that support their health, nutrition, and housing without fear of impact on their immigration status.

A partir del 9 de marzo del 2021, la regla discriminatoria y ampliada sobre la Carga Pública está permanentemente BLOQUEADA, y ya no está en vigor en ninguna parte de los Estados Unidos. Ahora, los inmigrantes pueden obtener de forma segura los beneficios públicos que apoyan su salud, nutrición y vivienda sin temor a que su estatus migratorio se vea afectado.

Will, one of the first students to complete the College and Community Studies program at PSU, and staff member at NWDSA/ABI reflects on his transition and college experience.

NW Disability Support supports House Bill 2590 in Oregon and is pleased to see effort around identifying root causes of underrepresentation in higher education and steps toward remedies occurring. To be sure HB 2590 is inclusive, a wording amendment to the bill is requested.

Our WA families are heavy on hearts right now. We are working with The Arc of WA State, WA DD Council, and other advocacy organizations to support advocacy efforts to prioritize COVID vaccination for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities in Washington state.

Download PDF:

It’s been almost a year since students across Oregon started online learning. It has been difficult and, in some cases impossible, to translate special education services to virtual platforms. Students with disabilities have missed out on things such as physical therapy and speech therapy, as well as the accommodations that ensure they receive a free, appropriate public education.

Today, Talk Out Loud heard from our own Maria Rangel, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, and mother of three school-aged children, including a daughter who experiences Down Syndrome, and Tom Stenson, deputy legal director for Disability Rights Oregon.

Listen to the broadcast on

¡Hemos estado inmersos en la educación y el alcance de COVID-19!

Ha sido un área importante de nuestro trabajo en los últimos meses. Estamos agradecidos por nuestra asociación con la Autoridad de Salud de Oregon (OHA) y el trabajo que hemos realizado al colaborar con nuestros socios. Queremos que sepa que estamos aquí con ustedes. La pandemia ha sido difícil y queremos saber de usted sobre su experiencia con el acceso a la información de COVID-19 y la vacuna.

¡Sus voces nos importan! ¿Por favor complete nuestra encuesta COVID-19?

Español | Inglés

Esperamos que la información que proporcione sea de ayuda en Oregón y Washington.

Esta rápida encuesta solo debería tomar de 3 a 5 minutos y ayudará a nuestro trabajo para impulsar a que mejore, el acceso y la capacidad de respuesta a nuestras necesidades reales. ¡Sus comentarios y opiniones son importantes! Es un placer para nosotros apoyar a las familias y brindar información sobre las mejores prácticas a nuestra comunidad.

Equipo de trabajo de NW Disability Support

We have been immersed in COVID-19 education and outreach! It’s been a big area of our work the last few months. We are grateful for our partnership with Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the work we’ve done collaborating with partners. We want you to know we are right here with you. The pandemic has been hard and we want to hear from you about your experience with access to COVID-19 information and the vaccine. Your voice matters to us!

Can you please fill out our COVID-19 survey?

Survey in English | Survey in Español

We are hoping the information you provide will be useful in Oregon and Washington. This quick survey should only take about 3 to 5 minutes and will help inform our work to push for improvement, access, and responsiveness to our very real needs. Your feedback and comments are important! It's our pleasure to support families and bring best practice information to our community.

NW Disability Support Team

Hot off the press! Today, hard copies of our new comic book, Fighting COVID, has been printed. The comic features a superhero with a disability that goes on a journey to fight coronavirus.

Months ago, our Social Justice Youth identified a need for accessible resources around COVID-19 prevention. The idea of a comic was a project the youth and our board member Mike Rosen got excited about. Thank you to local comic artist Shannon Wheeler for your work and creativity turning the idea into an amazing accessible resource, in English and Spanish, for us to share. Thanks, also, to Bridgetown Printers, for safely showing us the process!

If you are on our mailing list, you will be receiving our Stepping Up! newsletter soon. It includes an article about the comic-- "Fighting COVID, 'Heck Yeah'” -- as well as a page from the comic book you can tear out to use as a handwashing visual. Also, check out the fun pictures from our socially distanced Fighting COVID photoshoot. Many thanks to Jeff Day Photography!

So much work and heart went into this and we are so thankful for all the creative forces that came together to make it happen! We are interested in partnerships to explore another large print run, partnership with foundations to allow us to print more.

Take a look at KOIN news coverage about Fighting COVID

When you think about your child’s future do you think about them going to college? More than ever, college is an option for students with an intellectual disability. However, options in the western United States are limited. Until four years ago, there wasn’t even one inclusive college option in Oregon.
Every four years, federal funding is awarded to expand college options for youth with intellectual disabilities. We work hard to promote more options with our Think College coalition. This funding round created some new opportunities, and Beth Foraker-who has been an active participant in our ABI summit-will be directing a new inclusive program in California, the Redwood SEED Scholars program at UC Davis MIND Institute. There will be a new program in Idaho, and Washington State has the ROAR Program. PSU and Highline are continuing their programs and commitment to our students, and we are delighted we are seeing growth on the West Coast, and more options for our youth.

Click link for complete article.

Hunter is our oldest, so when his little sister came around it was shocking to me that I didn’t have to fight for her in the same way I do for Hunter, who has Down syndrome.  Even as a small baby, his first daycare told us that he would be kept in the “baby room” rather than moving up alongside his peers of the same age, when he turned one.  Because of these experiences, inclusion has been on the forefront of our minds, and at times have been quite consuming, since the day he was born.  We’ve been very fortunate over the last few years to have support from people in our community and organizations such as Northwest Down Syndrome Association to help us prepare for kindergarten and what is to come in the public-school system. 

Click link to read the entire article.

Estamos muy contentos de poder compartir este video que realizamos con mucho esfuerzo, en colaboración con otros líderes comunitarios que al igual que nuestra organización trabajan muy duro para brindar apoyo, información y abogacía a nuestra comunidad Hispana/Latina que experimenta discapacidades intelectuales/desarrollo y con el patrocinio a través de fondos que nos fueron otorgados de la Autoridad de Salud de Oregón.

Measure 26-215 calls for a landmark commitment of funds to support a vital inflection point at Portland Public Schools and creates a thoughtful investment in both physical buildings that are more accessible and safer as well as equipped for the 21st century needs of all students.

We ask you to vote yes for the bond as do our young people. Their voices can be heard here in the “Disability Rights are Civil Rights; Vote Yes on Measure 26-215 PPS Bond“ video created by members of our Social Justice Youth Group. Our youth are concerned about disability justice and we as an organization celebrate all the pieces of the bond package as disability and belonging means much more than just physical access to a school.

Daniel Jarvis Holland, a graduate of Benson Tech who studied media and experiences Down syndrome, writes in the voter’s pamphlet this statement, “Kids with disabilities and without should be able to go to school. Grandmas and volunteers, teachers with disabilities should be able to go into any school. When we go in the school teach all students all disabilities all races. We all belong. Instead of talking about equity VOTE for this bond.”

This testimony is a contribution to the Equity in Education meeting discussions. It recognizes people with disabilities are an underrepresented group and the equity of their education needs to be elevated and included in equity discussions.

Board members, Michael Bailey and Mike Rosen, recognize the unanimous decision by the Portland Public School Board to earmark funds in the November bond and the years of advocacy by Angela Jarvis-Holland, Executive Director. This is a good step towards equity and improving education for all students. NW Disability Support (All Born (in) and Northwest Down Syndrome Association) are supporting this bond and will be sharing more information.

The recording of last week's session "What Does Back to School Mean for My Child?" with Dr. Candace Pelt, Oregon Department of Education is now available!

An update from Jamie Burch regarding our Think Inclusive College West Coast Coalition.

The first graduating class from PSU's four year Think College Inclusion Oregon program (the first university program for students with intellectual disabilities) includes Rachel and Will!

Our fourth entry into Notes on Belonging: Quiero ir a la tienda a comprarme unas papas / I want to go to the store to buy some potatoes

Rachel, one of the first students to complete the College and Community Studies Program at PSU, and staff member at NWDSA/ABI reflects on her experience.

Congratulations, Rachel! We are so proud of you!!!

A message from Angela Jarvis-Holland and survey request designed for parents/caregivers regarding online learning. The survey will help us in our efforts to provide resources and help direct our advocacy for inclusive online learning. Thank you in advance for your support!

Here's a plain-language resource for sharing how to help prevent COVID-19.

Our third entry into Notes on Belonging: Revisiting the closure of Fairview

Our second entry into Notes on Belonging: Through a father's eyes

Our first entry into our new blog, Notes on Belonging: Making space


Friday, April 17, 2020
8:00 am-5:00 pm
Holiday Inn Portland Airport, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97220

All Born (in) Conference Master Session presented by Think Inclusive College West Coast Coalition featuring local and national presenters

Together we will learn and share with national and local experts on transition and inclusive college! This powerful day builds on successes and creates action steps for youth (16-25), parents, educators, professionals, and anyone interested in increasing inclusive higher education opportunities in the NW region. Receive information, network, and take part in state-level advocacy around inclusive postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual disability (ID) in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, northern California, and Nevada.

Andy Arias, Advocacy Professional
Debra Hart, Think College
Denise Rozell, AUCD
Lori Cooney, Think College
Stephanie Smith Lee, NDSC
More coming soon!

Registration will be available soon.


Research shows that inclusive post-secondary education leads to better employment, social, and community living outcomes for people with disabilities. The Think Inclusive College West Coast Coalition Advisory Group is dedicated to opening doors to inclusive college options for students with intellectual disability.

Attend one of the upcoming information nights at Portland State University to find out more about their Career and Community Studies certificate and experience! First day of Fall Term is September 28, 2020!

We need zero judgment of families and to meet them where they are and encourage high expectations and increase their confidence and knowledge as advocates. We need to help support their next steps and empower them to reach their child’s dreams and maximize their inclusion.

Five years ago, we asked our children what they wanted for their future, encouraging them to envision no limits. A shared dream was college. Emma had choices and options; there was no college option for Dan in Oregon.

Randy noticed that, while the Seaside promenade is accessible for wheelchairs, individuals with mobility challenges weren't able to experience the sand and surf up close.

Kindergarten Inclusion Cohort provides an additional vital resource—a community of other parents to lean into for support.

Pasaron diecisiete años y mi hijo estaba a punto de terminar la escuela secundaria. Comencé a preguntarme: “¿Qué habrá para mi hijo después de la secundaria?”

Getting a pedicure can be tricky for me. Sometimes having my feet touched is a little uncomfortable. My mom says the technical term is Sensory Defensiveness.

Uno de nuestros mayores logros este año fue poder ofrecer nuestro taller de entrenamiento de transición de kínder y más! en español por primera vez.

The 14th Annual All Born (in) Cross-Disability Best Practices Educational Inclusion Conference on April 6th was a Success!

130 friends of inclusive college share a full day of information, networking, and advocacy to create powerful, positive change to open more doors to inclusive college options for students with intellectual disability.

The pink and purple dune buggy that Alexis, a 7-year-old from Washougal, received for her birthday became one of her favorite toys

Emma Frome and Dan Jarvis-Holland attended their first advocacy rally with us as small children 18 years ago in Salem as we protested cuts to Early Intervention.

Parents and professionals learned how to amplify the youth voice, work together to advocate for more post-secondary programs, and support the dream to make inclusive college a reality.

It’s amazing to see the friendships that inclusion have developed for Parker, and how much his friends and peers value and respect him.

Como la nueva Coordinadora de alcance bilingüe, estoy trabajando para que los entrenamientos, eventos, recursos, apoyo para padres y conferencias sean más accesibles para nuestra comunidad de habla hispana.

This will be our ninth walk this year and each year Nickel grows more eager to attend.

I’m proud of the tone I set—checking every detail, speaking my mind, and building working relationships. I do wish the percentage of inclusion for my child was higher. I wasn’t prepared for feeling so mixed, but truly it is a preview of the next 15 years.

Mi experiencia en el último taller fue de muchísima ayuda, me enseñó que ser paciente es la mejor clave para obtener los mejores resultados y que siempre existen mas de una forma de ayudar a nuestros pequeños a aprender.

Supporting the Down syndrome community has always been important to Donald and Mary Prescott.

Angela mentioned that she happened to have a bucket of chalk in the trunk of the car. They stopped, got out, and drew in giant letters the words “Free Our People” where Fairview's sign used to be. Dan wrote “kind”, “love”, and “never again”.

College options are more of a reality for students with intellectual disability than ever before, but there's still much work to be done.

“We wanted to raise awareness ... and we thought a walk in our small town would be a great way to bring everyone together to educate about the reality of living with Down syndrome."

Patrick is a young man from California who is helping lead the charge for college options along the west coast.

Educational staff and parents benefit from shared resources.

It’s not rocket science, it’s education. Separate will NEVER be equal…. I will never believe that isolation is an equal trade for education.

I am 24 years old. I go to college. The program I am in is called TCIOC or Think College Inclusion Oregon.

Angela Jarvis-Holland and Angela Frome receive community awards.

It seems impossible to see how one person can make a difference. But thankfully, there are many knowledgeable and passionate people and organizations willing to help us learn how to advocate.

Building inclusive classrooms is hard work, but easier together.

Newlyweds make generous gift

For their April wedding, Angela and Tony Vu asked friends and family to make donations to NWDSA / ABI in lieu of wedding gifts. Their nephew Oliver and his parents are members of our Kindergarten Cohort community. We are honored by the generosity of the bride and groom. Their wonderful gift helps us continue to support their nephew and other families who work towards an inclusive world for all children.

Congratulations, Angela and Tony and thank you!

Think College Inclusion Oregon Coalition (TCIOC) is incredibly honored and excited to be leading the effort to increase post-secondary education opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

You do not have to be grateful to your school for “allowing” your child to go there.

The camp broke new ground in creating a powerful alliance with a strong belief in the importance of belonging.

Are you or someone close to you interested in bicycling, but due to ability or preference find you are unable to use a conventional bicycle?

On March 6th the American Health Care Act was proposed in the House of Representatives to replace the ACA. This legislation will cut Medicaid and repeal important protections of the ACA.

“I’ll tell you this. Your daughter will grow up, graduate from high school, go to at least some college, get a job and move out.” He looks at us over the top of his grandpa glasses: “And that’s more than you can say for a lot of people.”

In December of 2016, the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan became available to individuals in Oregon.

I felt like I had been caught tearing the wings off a butterfly, and I shrunk away, no clever words slipping off my tongue now.

You couldn’t pick a better group to fight with. This isn’t our first rodeo. We do this every day. Our muscles are primed and ready for this work of resistance.

Does everyone see my responsible, competent child? Do you see her making it in typical preschool with two hundred of Portland’s most organic children? Do you see her here in the main stream, not off in some side stream, some trickle going nowhere?

In the history books the revolutions seem so organized. It seems like every leader has their assignment which they execute flawlessly without complication and the gears turn perfectly and the world is changed forever. While I hunt for the car keys.

There were many false starts as she remembered the tricks she’d learned, and remembered to trust her mother, but in time we made it to the park. And let me tell you, that was one proud little girl.

“Going into this camp, I thought social justice was only about helping people who can’t help themselves…but I learned that it is so much more. In order to create social justice, we have to start with ourselves.” – James, 2016 Social Justice Youth Summer Camp Participant

The Northwest Down Syndrome Association kicked off its annual Bike First camp Monday, giving children with disabilities another way to have fun this summer.

We are excited to welcome Susan Hiler as our new 2016 Portland Metro & SW Washington Buddy Walk Chair!

NWDSA Executive Director Angela Jarvis-Holland and her son Daniel recently presented testimony at PPS Board of Education meeting. Angela discussed the Think College program, and Daniel shared his college goals and asked members of the Board to be on his team.

Edie realized that in 1976, society didn’t have much space for a child with Down syndrome, and she was appalled to realize how poorly her son and his peers could be treated, how low expectations were, and how few opportunities there were for him to learn and thrive. Things were going to be different in the Brown family, and so began a long life of advocacy.

ABI is not just about schools, about Special Ed, about getting my kid through school and helping other parents do the same. It’s about the long haul, and about building communities that understand that All Means All, that when we take the time to truly embrace and celebrate our differences, we will be the best world

For the first time in Oregon, individuals with intellectual disabilities will have access to an inclusive postsecondary education at a four-year university, thanks to the efforts of Think College Inclusion Oregon, Northwest Down Syndrome Association/All Born (in), and Portland State University.

Pienso que el programa de alcance para familias Hispanas/Latinas es muy importante, ya que así las nuevas familias se conectan a servicios, participan en grupos de apoyo, conocen a otras familias, crean una red de amigos/as, y reciben información mediante entrenamientos y conferencias.

In January 2012, attorneys from DRO filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Oregon, contending that its use of “sheltered workshops” violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by segregating people with disabilities from the workforce.

What if you have a child with disabilities who may lack the confidence, balance, and independence to hop on a bike and pedal away? That’s where NWDSA's Bike First summer clinic comes in.

Blogger Cathleen Smalls' experience at the 2015 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are proposing to release a policy statement on inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality inclusive early childhood programs. It is the purpose of this blog to request comments on the proposed statement. Please review the attached draft policy statement and provide comments no later than 6:00pm EDT, Friday, May 22, 2015.

Reach 2020 would shift resources to integrate students (Portland Tribune)

When she was just 11, Katie said to her mom over breakfast one morning, “Mom, I want to go to high school, then college, get a job, and have a wedding.”

In the end Down syndrome doesn't define our daughter nor does it define us as parents.

Northwest Down Syndrome Association/ABI is incredibly honored and excited to be one of the KPCF Funded Partners.

We are all different races, sizes and ages but a community is one big family.

This is truly a grassroots effort to fund this 4-year old amazing program.

Inspiration. Learning. Inclusion. These are words that have consistently been used by RLC attendees to summarize recent sessions.

The 2014 conference drew over 450 people, ranging from parents of a 4 month old baby with Down syndrome to the head of Special Ed for Portland Public Schools, from self-advocates to grandparents, all enjoying an inspiring and educational day.

Thanks to everyone who helped out at the Burgerville Fundraiser for the Reciprocal Learning Community.

Six mothers present themselves dutifully on the first day in class. Four care for children with Down syndrome, two for children with other developmental disabilities. They’re nervous, unsure if they want their stories out in the world.

We are excited and grateful to welcome two new members to the NWDSA Board of Directors. Isis Sanchez and Dr. Ruth Falco, PhD are both long-time members of the NWDSA community.

Before I tell you about myself and things I like to do; I want to say thank you to my family and friends for all of the love and help they give me.

In case you don’t know I have Down syndrome. In some ways it makes me different than other people which I think is interesting. In a lot of ways I am the same as you - I like who I am and I like learning with my friends. I consider myself funny, smart, creative in art and friendly.

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