Age 0 to 1 - Babies (& Pre-Birth Diagnosis)
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NEW PARENT OUTREACH (diagnosis that your child has Down syndrome - Pre-birth or at Birth) DSA offers the opportunity to:
- Make connections by asking questions and sharing experiences
- Interact with Welcome team member - Staff - Advocacy Group
- Acquire information and facts about invidiuals with Down syndrome and those who serve them
- Receive assistance in locating services and resources
- Gain support through groups - activities - other parents - DSA staff
Click Here to visit the DSA CalendarClick Here to visit the Healthcare Referral Program
First thing - CONGRATULATIONS on the birth or impending birth of your baby!
Have you just recently learned that your baby has Down syndrome? You may be shocked by this news and feeling an array of emotions that you hadn’t expected - we want you to know - you are not alone. The members and staff of Down Syndrome Alabama would like to be a resource to support and encourage you. There are excellent medical professionals, early intervention specialists and experienced parents here in Central Alabama who can offer you a hopeful view of the life that lies ahead for your child and your family. (If you are a grandparent, relative or friend of a baby recently born with Down syndrome, thank you for visiting this page and please share this information with the new parents.)
The most important thing is to behold your baby – look at your baby closely – every new parent needs to get to know and bond with their newborn. Your baby is the person you named. Your baby is not Down syndrome –it does not define who they are. Who do they look like? What are his or her traits? Your baby with Down syndrome is more like other babies than different. When any baby is born, there is change at home, please take care of yourself, accept help from family and friends, and celebrate the arrival of your newest family member.
Extra patience may be needed as both mother and father, individually and as well as parent partners, process the news that their baby has Down syndrome. Time is a gift and is necessary for every parent to revision the life they had dreamed of for their baby while adjusting and embracing the new narrative for those future dreams. It may seem that the diagnosis of Down syndrome is dominating all your thoughts, conversations and time. It may feel like everyone is talking about differences, medical issues, and challenges that lie ahead for your baby and your family – BUT - hold on to these facts:
- Your child is a unique individual and cannot be generalized by a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
- In order to reach their full potential, your child will take a distinctive and deeply personal journey.
- There is not one way to foresee a child's challenges or triumphs.
- No one can predict a child's future.
Your family, close friends and those who know you, who were also anticipating this birth, might now be struggling with how to express their thoughts and feelings to you concerning your baby with Down syndrome. Their silence or comments may unintentionally hurt or offend you, their remarks might sound trite and their actions appear disconnected. Try to be patient; overlook their awkwardness, instead search and listen for intent and meaning. They like you may not know anything about Down syndrome and may have never met anyone with Down syndrome. Introduce them to your baby – this is their opportunity to get to know, love and adore your child. Some will show initiative to gain knowledge about babies with Down syndrome and as time passes you will inevitably become skilled at portraying Down syndrome in a positive manner to all those you encounter. Because of your baby many may become active advocates for your child and others with Down syndrome. These are the counteractions needed to wipe out the only debilitating obstacle they will face - misinformation, generalities and preconceptions which spread fallacies about individuals with Down syndrome and their lives.
You may find that meeting or talking with other parents of children with Down syndrome can be a priceless experience. We have seen how helpful it is for new parent(s) of a child with Down syndrome to talk to willing, informed, knowledgeable and involved parents of an older child with Down syndrome. Experience is a great teacher, a genuine encourager and a wise counselor.
This is just a start as you will undoubtedly have more questions as your baby grows. Please ask questions – every question is important – not one is trivial. If we don't have the answer, we will try to find someone who does. Our organization and many groups like us collectively create a rich human library of knowledge, stories, methods, experiences, referrals and solutions that you can draw upon as you discover, pursue and celebrate potential and quality of life for your child with Down syndrome.
Alabama Early Intervention System (AEIS) 1.800.543.3098 (or TTY 800.499.1816) www.rehab.state.al.us/ei Or - Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services at 334.293.7500 When a new baby has a special need, families may require assistance in planning how to best care for their newest member. Alabama's Early Intervention System, a statewide system of resource access, support, and appropriate services can provide that assistance.
The Rise School Tuscaloosa, AL 205.348.7931 Located at 600 Johnny Stallings Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404- riseschool.ua.edu - Provids exemplary services based on recommended practices to young children with diverse abilities and their families. Interfaces with the community through outreach activities.Offers instructional opportunities through collaboration with various academic units within The University of Alabama system and with other colleges and universities.
The Bell Center 1700 29th Court South Homewood, AL 35209 - 205.870.0081 - thebellcenter.org For more than 25 years, The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs has provided treatment for children with special needs through its therapy programs. The Bell Center offers treatment as soon as a child is diagnosed, often within a few days or weeks after birth. The program has provided dramatic results for the more than 1,000 children who have participated since its inception.
Choosing a pediatrician is important. Things to consider include a pediatrician's training and experience, as well as the office location, hours, and routines. One way to find a pediatrician is to ask families of other children with Down syndrome in your area for recommendations. A pediatrician who recognizes and respects a parent’s questions, concerns and sees them as partners might be a good match for your family