Down Syndrome Victoria is committed to a model of peer support and empowerment to build resilience in people with Down syndrome and their families.
Support for new families
One of the most successful ways of supporting new parents is through contact with another parent who has been through a similar experience. Our Family Support Manager Sue Blandford (also a parent of a child with Down syndrome) is available to visit families at home or in hospitals in the Melbourne Metropolitan area when a baby with Down syndrome is born. Regional families are offered phone support from the Down Syndrome Victoria office and can be put in contact with a family in their area.
For new parent support contact Sue Blandford on 1300 658 873
New Parent Information packs
Down Syndrome Victoria offer New parent information packs free to all new families. This folder contains relevant information for New parents (a hospital version of the pack is also available for Maternity Hospitals). Others can purchase the pack for $15.
Contact our Family Support Manager to organise your copy.
New Parent Information evenings
Throughout the year, Down Syndrome Victoria run New Parent Information Evenings to welcome our newest families. The evening provides a chance to meet some other new parents and receive information about Down Syndrome Victoria and it's services. Refer to our Events page for upcoming sessions.
For all families
Families often find talking to other parents of a child with Down syndrome helpful and comforting and our Peer Support Groups provide a great opportunity to get together with other families, share ideas and experiences and meet new friends. Attending a local group is also a great way to share information about services and facilities in your area. There are many local support groups - scattered around Victoria.
There are different types of groups available:
- MyTime funded, Facilitator Led groups for 0-16yr olds
- Volunteer Led groups for all ages including Dads groups. Contact us for current details of groups in your area or click on the link below for a map
- On-going support - Our Family Support Team is available for 'not so new' parents who may want to talk to someone about a particular issue they may be facing with their child (starting school, specific health issues, adult support issues such as employment, accommodation and life planning). Contact us by phone on 1300 658 873
Map of group locations
For more information and to see a map of where our groups are located click here.
Other helpful links and contacts...
Need to talk? - Are you experiencing ongoing feelings of despair, dealing with sibling issues or family relationship problems?
Pick up the phone today and call one of these organisations for help:
Disability information & advocacy
Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) are an information, support and advocacy organisation for children with a disability and their families in Victoria. They have excellent resource publications:
- Through the Maze - helps steer you in the right direction when you have any general disability questions
- Learning to Lead - designed to help families learn to lead the planning process for accessing services and supports.
You also might like to refer to their Key Regional Contacts which are information sheets with specific contact details for key services in each of the nine regions of the Department of Human Services.
Down Syndrome Inclusion Support Service (DSISS)
Ian Cook is the DSISS consultant, providing support and information for teachers of students with Down syndrome in mainstream schools. (Fee for service)
Individual respite funding available
Funding is available for individuals with Down syndrome and their families via Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres, Respite Victoria and other service providers. For more information refer to the Respite link on our website.
Individual support packages
Individual Support Packages (ISP) are funding support for individuals with a disability. For more information refer to Respite and Funding on this website.