DSAA is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome through advocacy and supporting inclusion within schools, communities, and the workplace.
DSAA believes that individuals with Down syndrome have the right to be respected as valued members of society with their own level of independence, self-determination, and sense of belonging in the community. This can best be achieved by being allowed full community involvement.
Our goals include:
• Advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome so they may have the same access to opportunities in community schools, recreational activities, and employment as their typical peers;
• Support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families in seeking inclusive opportunities in our communities, schools, and work environments;
• Community Acceptance and Responsibility toward individuals with Down syndrome.
• Building bridges to the medical community to provide updated information to new parents.
• Training community and public service groups on disability awareness
Advocating at the Capitol
The DSAA represents the Down syndrome community during the legislative session and works to keep its members informed of key legislation. We participate in Disability Day at the capital each year and take a delegation to meet with our senators and representatives.
Advocating in our Schools
DSAA can assist parents with resources and services to help them prepare for the IEP process and transition services. We also provide information for parents to raise awareness during Down Syndrome Awareness month and World Down Syndrome Day.
Educational Training and Seminars
DSAA is available for presentations to local schools, employers, churches or other community entities to help educate people on Down Syndrome and how our organization can assist with resources and services.
Connecting with the Medical Community: First Call Ambassadors
The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta holds training each year for members who volunteer to be First Call Ambassadors to distribute information to OB/GYN and perinatology practices in the Metro Atlanta area. These volunteers are also available to talk with expectant and new parents if requested. The materials include a Medical Provider and an Expectant Parent Guide.
An Expectant Parent Guide will be sent upon request to anyone in Georgia as long as supplies last. Please contact us for a copy.
Making a First Impression: Parent Liaisons
The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta holds training each year for members who volunteer to be Parent Liaisons to the 26 local birthing hospitals in the Metro Atlanta area.
The trained Parent Liaisons are assigned to one or more hospitals and contact the labor and delivery, NICU, and social work staffs there to introduce themselves and they check in monthly to ensure that they have a supply of New Parent Packets to be given to new parents of babies born with Down syndrome. In addition, the Parent Liaisons are available to meet with new parents as requested. New Parent Packets are available in Spanish and a bilingual Parent Liaison is available.
Because many medical professionals are not equipped with updated information on Down syndrome, Parent Liaisons play a critical role in helping new families adjust. Additionally, parent liaisons also provide a special connection to new parents who often are unsure of what to expect. Parents or grandparents of children with Down syndrome themselves, Parent Liaisons can share their own stories and give much-needed support and advice while offering a realistic picture of what it is like to raise a child with Down syndrome.
Note: We hold regular training sessions for new Parent Liaisons. You must attend one of these sessions to become a new Parent Liaison. We need additional people, particularly for the more rural hospitals and medical centers. Please contact us if you are interested in attending one of these sessions.
Help Spread the Word, Change Perceptions, and Open Doors
Perhaps nothing we can do together as an organization will impact lives more than working to improve public perception, dispel myths and misconceptions, and spread awareness about Down syndrome. Attitudes can be difficult to change and it will not happen without a consistent message that is reinforced over time. For that reason, awareness remains an ongoing priority for DSAA.
Buddy Walk and World Down Syndrome Day, allow us to spread awareness among the greater Atlanta community each year. We also provide disability awareness training to corporations, police, and other groups. We also serve on coalitions and consortiums representing individuals with Down syndrome.