DSAA Press Release

The Down Syndrome Community rallies around the family of Sheldon, a teen with Down Syndrome dropped off at Grady Hospital December 4th


December 12, 2019 – Atlanta, GA – This week news that a teen with special needs was left at Grady by his mother has been circulating the media with a photo trying to identify the child and the mother.  The mother, who was overwhelmed with caring for this non-verbal child with Down Syndrome, has said she took him to the hospital because she believed that he would be cared for and fed there. Since then, the child has been identified as Sheldon, a teen with Down Syndrome and the mother, who has 3 other children, has been arrested for child abandonment and is currently waiting to appear in court.  All four children are currently in foster care.

As news spread on the news channels and via social media, the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta (DSAA) received many calls from families in the community that have family members with Down Syndrome wanting to help. Executive Director, Sheryl Arno, has been working to help determine needs and advocate for the entire family.  

“When we see a member of our Down Syndrome Community in need, we jump in and help.” said Sheryl Arno, Executive Director of DSAA.  “This community understands the challenges of parenting a child with Down Syndrome and can understand how overwhelming it can be. We want to help Sheldon and his family with resources, not only monetary, but also with navigating the maze to get services that are available to our kids.”

The DSAA has set up a fund to support the needs of Sheldon and his family.  If you would like to donate please do so here or send a check made out to DSAA and mail to: 2221 Peachtree St. Suite D 226, Atlanta, GA 30309, and designate on the check that this is for Sheldon’s Fund.  

About the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta:

Founded by a small group of parents in 1979, The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta (DSAA) is a 501 (c)(3) Georgia non-profit organization dedicated to providing individuals with Down syndrome and their families life-long community connections.

There was a need to provide support and information to families who had, or were expecting, babies with Down syndrome.  DSAA started working out of family's homes and having board meetings at kitchen tables across metro Atlanta.  In 1985, DSAA became a 501(c)(3) public charity.  Throughout the 1990’s, DSAA found itself growing in both numbers of families touched and in funding resources.  In 2008, we celebrated our 30th Anniversary at a Gala Banquet and Dance.  By 2008 DSAA was able to hire its first employees, an Executive Director and an Assistant Director.  

Today, DSAA serves 800 families in 18 counties in the greater Metro-Atlanta area with its programs, services, resources, and activities for all age groups. It is the largest volunteer organization for those touched by Down syndrome in Georgia. DSAA is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA). 


For more information, contact Sheryl Arno at [email protected] or 404-320-3233.