Downs Syndrome Association
The Down’s Syndrome Association is a national charity that exists to provide information and support to thousands of people with Down’s syndrome and their families in the UK. We focus on all aspects of living successfully with Down’s syndrome.
Since 1970 we have grown from being a local parent support group into a national charity. We have regional offices in Exeter, Northern Ireland and Wales. We offer free advice about all issues to do with the condition in relation to health, early support, education, social care, employment, leisure and later life issues. We provide a range of support services and training including:
- A psychological assessment service for children and adults with Down’s syndrome.
- An extensive training programme for families and professionals covering early years, education, behaviour, employer training and adult issues.
- Workfit – our employment programme which connects employers with people with Down’s syndrome to create work opportunities. WorkFit provides a free and tailored package of support to both employer and potential employee. Established in 2012, WorkFit has a 100% success rate and has recently extended its reach into Devon.
- DSActive - our dedicated sports programme which allows people with Down’s syndrome the opportunity to play sport in a fun and comfortable environment. Established in 2006, the programme works in partnership with 30 professional football clubs and 15 tennis clubs across the UK to offer weekly training sessions for people with Down’s syndrome. Both Exeter City FC and Plymouth Argyle FC have DSActive teams.
- Tell it Right, Start it Right – our successful training programme (accredited by the Royal College of Midwives). Since 2010 we have trained over 1200 midwives and related health professionals throughout the UK, ensuring that they have up to date, accurate and balanced information about living with Down’s syndrome. This knowledge also assists professionals to support expectant parents through the screening process by sharing the information in a non-directive manner. There is now interest in this training programme from other countries.
We regularly respond to government consultations and are often asked for advice and expertise by professionals who work with people with Down’s syndrome. Our expertise is also called upon by people in other parts of the world and we regularly provide advice and support to Down Syndrome International. The Down's Syndrome Association’s wide range of national support programmes are run by a staff of approx. 30 people (many of whom are part time). We have a small office in Exeter and rely heavily on volunteers across all of our operations.