First contact is an outreach programme run by DSIEF which offers new parents of children with Down syndrome initial support and advice free of charge through leaflets at hospitals and clinics, by telephone and through house visits.
We are aware of how challenging it is to raise a child with special needs and often how upset and daunted new parents can feel.
First Contact aims to give some basic information and create awareness for parents and caregivers in the community as to opportunities available for early intervention and inclusive education.
DSIEF First Contact
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Congratulations on your new baby
This new chapter of your life promises to be both challenging and emotionally rewarding. By now you may know that Down syndrome is a genetic disorder and therefore permanent. We would like you to know that there is a lot of information and support available to make things easier. Remember: it is only one extra chromosome that makes your baby ‘more alike than different‘.
You are not alone
Down syndrome is the most common genetic condition and as a result it is both well researched and supported. Please contact us and we will gladly help or guide you on your journey. We can share our experiences with you as parents raising children with Down syndrome. We have a network of professional therapists and educators ready to help you and your baby.
What you should know
It is not your fault. It just so happens that 1 out of 800 births are babies with Down syndrome. It can happen to anybody, to parents of any age, in any culture and from any socio-economic background.
Dr John Langdon Down, an English physician, in 1862 first classified this most common genetic disorder as the Syndrome which today bears his name.
Your baby may have one or more of the typical physical features associated with Down syndrome. These features include an increased risk of congenital heart condition, low muscle tone and low thyroid gland function.
Cognitive development is generally delayed though there is a wide spectrum of intellectual ability, which is greatly improved with early intervention.
However it is important to remember that your baby will share many physical features with you and your family.
As a new parent, you will need time to get to know your little one. Your baby has needs and demands just like any other baby and in these early days it is natural to be tired and emotional.
You will want to gather all the information you can, as this knowledge will make you feel more in control of the situation. We can share our experiences with you and introduce you to some of the support and advice we have found useful from our own experiences of raising children with Down syndrome.
Children with Down syndrome love to do all the things other boys and girls do. They might love to sing, dance, study, play sport and make music. They have an incredible capacity of love towards their family and friends. They also have emotions of happiness or sadness, and they can be stubborn just like any other child!
Our focus at DSIEF is to raise awareness of the benefits of inclusive education such that it becomes the accepted practice in our mainstream schools. We believe that parents of children with Down syndrome should demand and expect quality education for their child.