Other Organizations Helping People with Down Syndrome

There are important organizations serving people with Down syndrome as part of their mission to help a larger community of people who are differently-abled. This is in addition to the international, national, and local Down syndrome-specific organizations. It is imperative for all of us to keep in mind that people with Down syndrome are not only constituents of a larger community of people who are differently-abled, but also part of their own unique geographic, ethnic and religious communities.

The Arc
Special Olympics
Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.)
The International Down Syndrome Coalition (IDSC)

Photo courtesy of The Arc of Palm Beach County

The Arc

With more than 700 state and local chapters, The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc was formed in 1950 as a result of a grassroots movement led by parents who were frustrated with the lack of rights and services provided to their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today, The Arc actively promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and supports their full inclusion and participation in the community. At the national level, The Arc has been instrumental in crafting and influencing federal policy to ensure the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A key example is The Arc’s leadership ensuring that students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA.”) In many states, local chapters of The Arc provide services such as early intervention programming, supported employment, day habilitation, and residential support. In other states, local chapters focus on individual and system advocacy. All state chapters of The Arc work to improve state policies affecting persons with disabilities. To learn more about The Arc please visit www.thearc.org.

Special Olympics

Tim Shriver, Chairman & CEO of Special Olympics, remembering the beginnings of Special Olympics:

“We had a camp in my parents’ house – my mother ran a camp she called it Camp Shriver. And the campers came in yellow school buses, and they came largely from institutions, they came from places that today would be considered inhumane. They came without parents, they came without family, and they came largely because there was nowhere else for them to go. If they wanted to swim in a swimming pool, or kick a kickball, or ride a pony, or run a race, there was nowhere.”

“Special Olympics athletes are spokespersons for freedom itself – they ask for the freedom to live, the freedom to belong, the freedom to contribute, the freedom to have a chance. And, of all the values that unite and inspire us to seek a better world, no value holds a higher place than the value of freedom.” Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver during a time when people with intellectual disabilities were marginalized and commonly treated inhumanely. Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Special Olympics had an important message that still holds true – every person has value and people with intellectual disabilities can and will succeed if given the opportunity. Today the organization supports and celebrates the accomplishments of more than 3.7 million athletes worldwide. In addition to providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is a global leader in healthcare, leadership training, legislative change, self-advocacy and employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. To learn more about Special Olympics, please visit www.SpecialOlympics.org.

D.A.D.S. (Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome)

Dads Appreciating Down SyndromeDads Appreciating Down Syndrome, or D.A.D.S., is a group of 57 local committees and chapters (within a local Down syndrome support organization) of fathers of children who happen to have Down syndrome.

The foundational pillars of D.A.D.S. are Support, Action and Fellowship. Members are active in the community coaching their kids’ sports teams, participating in their children’s Individualized Education Programs, volunteering at local Down syndrome fundraisers, and sponsoring fundraisers of their own.

The cornerstone of D.A.D.S. groups is a monthly meeting at which members share insights and experiences. The groups invite speakers to discuss medical, educational, financial, social, and any other issues that affect the lives of members’ children. And members share stories and experiences that are unique to fathers of children with Down syndrome.

To learn more about D.A.D.S. please visit www.dadsnational.org

IDSC (International Down Syndrome Coalition)

The International Down Syndrome Coalition (IDSC) is dedicated to helping and advocating for individuals with Down syndrome from conception and throughout life. We promote the dignity and respect of individuals with DS and assist the families who love them. We provide support, education and connection to other families as well as to local resources. The IDSC operates and advocates independent of any political cause or religious affiliation and we welcome all to our community.

To learn more about IDSC please visit theidsc.org