The Downs Syndrome Association
The Downs Syndrome Association was started during the 1970's in the Midlands by a group of parents. Our National Office is now based in London and has a small paid staff, some of who have Downs Syndrome. There are branches all around the country that are run by parents. Some branches are bigger than others and all work very differently - but with one objective - to support people with Downs Syndrome, their families and care-givers.
The National Office helpline is open Monday-Friday 10am - 4pm on 0845 230 0372
Down's Syndrome Association
Langdon Down Centre
2a Langdon Park
Their services include :
The National Downs Syndrome Association produces a magazine that is sent out 3 times a year. This is full of news, information and many letters from people who have Downs Syndrome or are involved with someone who has. It also reports on the latest advances in Education, Medicine, etc. The Bristol Area Branch of the Downs Syndrome Association was set up in 1995. We started with 30 families on our mailing list and now have almost 100. We send out a regular Newsletter and organise activities throughout the year. We also hold monthly coffee mornings where parents can meet for a chat (small children are very welcome). Most parents find it supportive to talk with others who have experienced or are experiencing the same feelings and challenges. Other parents may be able to offer advice and share their knowledge of having a child with Downs Syndrome. It can be important to know that you are not alone..
A Natural Reaction
If you have just had your baby you may still be experiencing some degree of shock. You may feel angry, hurt, detached, over-protective or numb. Everyone takes the news in their own way but it is important to remember that these feelings are not 'abnormal' or 'wrong'. Try not to feel guilty if you do experience some or all of these emotions - it is a natural reaction and eventually it will get easier. It is also important to remember that your baby is first and foremost a child with the same needs as any other, their Downs Syndrome is secondary. We provide special support for new parents thought the Oasis group
What about the future?
The future for people with Downs Syndrome has never been better. It is the most common learning disability and accounts for a quarter of all people in the world who have learning difficulties. Downs Syndrome occurs in all races and cultures and is probably the most well known learning disability (approximately 1 in 600 births). Early intervention programmes, coupled with a stimulating, loving family environment are helping people with Downs Syndrome to grow and lead fulfilling lives. It is now common for children to be placed in mainstream nurseries and schools and to continue into employment. Many people with Downs Syndrome are married and live independently of their families. Life expectancy is currently 55 and rising with advances in care and medicine.
Try to find up to date literature - this is important as older publication may contain outdated and inaccurate information. Your local library should be able to help you with this. You can buy books from the National Downs Syndrome Association, or borrow them from our Branch library. We particularly recommend : "Downs Syndrome, The Facts" by Mark Selikowitz, 1997.