Parenting is always a mix of love, worry, hope, sadness, joy, and confusion. When you find out you’re expecting a baby with Down Syndrome, the confusion and worry may seem intense. However, there is support out there for you as you go through the journey so you can enjoy more of the happiness that come with parenting and less of the worry.
Local residents have the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads on their side. Recently, Carolyn Howlett of the DSAHR answered a few questions about services they offer for new parents and expectant parents.
Q: How can the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads help new parents?
A: Our association helps new parents with a new baby pack which has many resources for new parents to read and learn more about this chromosomal disorder. Even bigger than that we provide a support group for new parents that give new parents the opportunity to connect, talk and learn from other parents.
Q: Are expectant parents welcome to contact DSAHR for help as well?
A: Yes, we love when new parents contact our association prior to birth. This is a great time to attend events and stocking up on lots of beneficial reading material.
Q: How can family members and friends help support new parents?
A: A great key to supporting new parents is congratulating them; they are still breaking a child into this world. Also as a family member or friend educate yourself.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you can offer for parents about raising children with Down syndrome?
A: The first shock that your child will have Down syndrome may be the hardest part. Once these individuals become a part of your family you really see they are more alike than different. They make beautiful children, siblings and grandchildren. Consider yourself lucky to have such a blessing your life.
Q: Are there any additional resources you would like to recommend?
A: The Down Syndrome Association is a great resource for all families that have children with Down syndrome. We have many events, reading material and workshops that can help educate on many topics.
The Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads may be reached at (757) 466-3696 or email@example.com. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Youtube.
Parents may also find comfort and hope in the fact that the opportunities for individuals with Down Syndrome have changed greatly over the past 50 years. Children with Down Syndrome often now go to school with their peers, enjoy sports, participate in Scouting, and go to summer camp. Adults with Down Syndrome can find jobs, housing, love, and sometimes attend higher education. Life expectancy has increased as well, with many individuals living into their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Additional resources for new parents and expectant parents:
National Down Syndrome Society
Downs Syndrome Society (UK)
S.M.I.L.E. on Down Syndrome