If you have arrived here, there is a good chance you have received news you did not expect. As an expectant or new parent you have been told your child has Down syndrome.
If your child has arrived, please accept the sincere congratulations of our entire community!
Whether you are celebrating the birth of your child or anticipating its arrival, here you will find the basic information you need — to manage your pregnancy, plan for the delivery and to get started on the rewarding processes of having a child with Down syndrome in your life.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this diagnosis is not as life changing as the fact that you have a new baby. And in most ways, your baby will be just like other infants. Every baby needs to be fed, held and most of all, loved.
There will be challenges in raising your child, but there will also be many, many joys. It’s normal to be nervous about what lies ahead, but remember that Down syndrome is a condition your baby has, it is not who your baby is. Now is the time to begin learning all you can about Down syndrome and this website is a great place to start.
Want to start now?
If you would like to speak with a parent from DSOSN’s New Member Committee, please call our office at 702.648.1990. You will be connected with a parent in your area who can offer support, information and friendship to you as you begin your life with your new baby.
Birth to 3: Early Intervention
The first years of life are a critical time in a child’s development. All young children go through the most rapid and developmentally significant changes during this time. During these early years, they achieve the basic physical, cognitive, language, social and self-help skills that lay the foundation for future progress, and these abilities are attained according to predictable developmental patterns. Children with Down syndrome typically face delays in certain areas of development, so early intervention is highly recommended. It can begin anytime after birth, but the sooner it starts, the better.
This section provides details on the various kinds of early intervention available, and how to access services.
What is early intervention?
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Early intervention is a systematic program of therapy, exercises and activities designed to address developmental delays that may be experienced by children with Down syndrome or other disabilities. These services are mandated by a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law requires that states provide early intervention services for all children who qualify, with the goal of enhancing the development of infants and toddlers and helping families understand and meet the needs of their children. The most common early intervention services for babies with Down syndrome are physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy.
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How to Sign Up for Early Intervention Services
Each state has its own set of laws governing early intervention services (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON NEVADA EARLY INTERVENTION). Parents can get a referral from the baby’s doctor, Once a referral has been made, the program staff must schedule and complete an initial evaluation within a specified time. Once the assessment is done, a caseworker is assigned to coordinate the various services for which the baby and family qualifies. Early intervention services are individualized to mete the specific needs of each individual baby. The caseworker, therapists and family will determine the areas of focus and set goals based on the developmental milestones. These will be recorded in a document called the Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP.