INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Ohio (DSANEO) is a nonprofit that provides a wide range of programs and advocacy for individuals who have Down syndrome and their families. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Ohio provides support and advocacy for individuals who have Down syndrome

  • It has a gift shop filled with items created by individuals with Down syndrome

  • A television show was created to raise awareness

Maria Sivertson, director of community relations at DSANEO, said the organization currently serves approximately 1,000 families in northeast Ohio.

"Our mission is to provide support for the individuals with Down syndrome so that they have a fulfilling a rewarding life," Sivertson said. 

One of the ways the gorup works toward that goal is through a gift shop called Artful 21, located inside the DSANEO building. 

It’s filled with items for purchase that are made by individuals with Down syndrome. 

"These individuals start their own business, so they are entrepreneurs, they come up with these creative and unique ideas and they sell them here at our store," Sivertson said. "All proceeds go directly toward that business if you purchase something from them."

The group is trying to spread awareness about its mission on a broader level with a new monthly television show called “Something Extra,” and Sivertson is the host.

Down syndrome is caused by trisomy 21, or a third copy of chromosome 21 instead of two.

“It was designed to create understanding and awareness for individuals with Down syndrome in our community," she said. "We highlight our individuals with Down syndrome and our staff." 

She said she tackles topics that effect the Down syndrome community.

“I hope that this gives our individuals more opportunities and that some companies out there, some local businesses, will give them a chance to prove themselves,” she said. 

Something Extra may be viewed on Spectrum channel 1021 or online. ​