About the MDSC
In the early years, parents met in a living room to share information about their children, provide support for each other and strategize how to educate their families, schools and communities. More than 28 years later, the MDSC has over 3,000 members, an energetic Board of Directors, a dynamic management team, and a vision to ensure that every person with Down syndrome has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
Today, the MDSC is on the cutting edge of Down syndrome advocacy at a time when an innovative, forward-thinking vision is needed. New non-invasive prenatal tests are changing the way Down syndrome is diagnosed, which in turn poses difficult ethical issues and raises questions about the future for the Down syndrome community.
In these complex times, more expectant parents than ever need support and guidance to make informed decisions. Fortunately, the MDSC is positioned to tackle these dilemma and advocate on behalf of all people with Down syndrome, their families and loved ones. With 28 years of experience behind us - and a wealth of connections and expertise - we are prepared to meet these families' needs on a number of levels through longstanding, proven programs and bold new initiatives.
The MDSC offers a broad array of programs to serve people with Down syndrome and their families throughout the state. These include:
- Two major annual conferences that draw national and international experts in their fields and participants from across New England.
- Our Buddy Walk® Program that gives individuals, schools, community groups, and local businesses an opportunity to get involved in fundraising campaigns and events year-round.
- A Teacher Partnership Network that matches educators with experience teaching students with Down syndrome with teachers who have limited or no experience. It is a partnership that dispels myths about Down syndrome and rewards teachers and students.
- Self-Advocate Programs like Advocates in Motion and our Self-Advocate Advisory Council, which provide opportunities for teens and adults with Down syndrome while making empowerment a central component.
- Other programs like our Diversity Outreach & Support Program and our affiliate programs Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.) and the Down Syndrome-Autism Connection that serve the entire Down syndrome community.
Working hand-in-hand with maternity hospitals, OB/GYN practices, genetic counselors, and many others across the Commonwealth, the MDSC First Call program has launched a comprehensive outreach program to provide medical providers with resources and training on best practices in delivering the diagnosis of Down syndrome to expectant parents. (In 2011, MDSC's Family Support Director Sarah Cullen and Board member Dr. Brian Skotko trained more than 300 health care providers, sharing the latest information and resources.)
On a federal level, the MDSC teams with Down syndrome leaders across the country, reaching consensus on difficult issues and collectively lobbying our leaders on Capitol Hill. On the state level, the MDSC works proactively with key policymakers to keep them abreast of and enlist their support for our policy priorities.
As we have over the past nearly three decades, the MDSC will continue to ensure that all individuals in Massachusetts with Down syndrome are valued, included, and given every opportunity to pursue fulfilling lives.