Photo by Matt Stensland
Carrie Kleckler picks up Lewis from preschool.
The Denver-based Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association offers support, information and referral services to more than 3,000 callers each year.
It was founded in 1981 by a group of parents in Boulder who came to realize there were no services, programs or support available for parents of children with Down syndrome.
After her son Lewis Kleckler was diagnosed, Hayden resident Carrie Kleckler reached out to the association, which put her in contact with a Denver mother.
“She called to just talk to us and answer any questions, and that was reassuring to just talk to someone else that had been through what we were going through,” Kleckler said.
Officials at the association realized they lacked a support group in Northwest Colorado, and Kleckler volunteered to be the facilitator in the area. Families involved in the support group from Hayden, Craig, Steamboat Springs and Kremmling have gotten together for the past three summers for a barbecue. An expert has come up for a daylong clinic, and Kleckler worked with Horizons Specialized Services to organize a training on the use of iPads for people with disabilities. She now is helping to organize a workshop that will focus on financial planning for people with disabilities.
Kleckler, who has become more involved with the association, was trained to be one of the parents who calls other parents who are just learning about their child’s diagnosis. Kleckler counseled a parent 1 1/2 years ago and met them in person in February.
“I was really glad to be able to do that,” she said.
For more information about the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, visit www.rmdsa.org.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com