Down Syndrome Support Groups

Approximately 1 in 800 babies are born with Down syndrome each year. There are varying degrees of Down syndrome. Some children grow into functional adults, whereas others suffer from a severe form of mental retardation. Understandably, parents raising children with Down syndrome have a lot of questions and wish to relate to other parents in similar situations. In this case, parent and child may benefit by joining a Down syndrome support group.

What is a Down Syndrome Support Group?

Support groups for Down syndrome primarily include parents whose children were born with Down syndrome. Parent or adult support groups for Down syndrome offer updated information, helpful resources, and support to parents seeking responses to common questions, and tips for successfully bringing up a child with Down syndrome. Although most support groups are comprised of parents, there are also available groups for siblings and other relatives.

Purpose of a Down Syndrome Support Groups

Down syndrome parent support groups are organized differently. Usually, members of the support group with address specific concerns and establish an overall mission. For example, the goal may be to create a large parental support group. In this case, meetings could be held in hospital life centers or libraries. These groups potentially appeal to new parents of Down syndrome children, as well as experienced parents. Meetings might frequently discuss developmental issues, medical information, and include guest pediatricians. Membership based large groups may establish monthly newsletters, informational websites, and toll free support numbers.

Smaller scale parent support groups may consist of four or five parents of Down syndrome children occasionally gathering at each other’s home, and providing support to one another.

Benefits of Joining a Down Syndrome Support Group

Down syndrome support groups are highly beneficial because they provide a forum for parents, siblings, and so forth to express their concerns and fears. Moreover, organized meetings afford the opportunity to ask questions and receive bonus support from other parents.

Without the support of a Down syndrome group, parents may feel cut off, vulnerable, or confused. Rearing a child with special needs or a disability is challenging. Although many parents take advantage of online resources and books, support groups offer the perfect opportunity to learn from more experienced parents. Because of open communication, parents are able to receive guidance, advice, and become skilled at coping with a special needs child.

Different Types of Support Groups

Each Down syndrome support group has a different purpose. The majority of groups strive to achieve one or more of the following goals:

� Provide children with socialization skills and therapy
� Establish group homes for adults
� Establish child care programs and after school care for Down syndrome children
� Organize recreational outings
� Provide training and guidance for parents
� Teach Down syndrome advocacy
� Offer widespread community support (informational lectures, newsletters, weekly meetings, etc)

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