An Interview with Down’s Syndrome Scotland

An Interview with Down’s Syndrome Scotland

Safestore supports Down Syndrome Scotland


For this edition of Behind the Blue Walls we interviewed a wonderful charity who store with us in Edinburgh called Down’s Syndrome Scotland.  They provide incredible ‘all through life’ support to people with Down’s syndrome (Ds) and their carers, from birth through to adulthood.  Speaking to Claire, their communications officer, we discovered more about the work they do and some of the great initiatives they are currently working on.
 
Where did it all begin?
Down’s Syndrome Scotland was originally set up in 1982 by a group of parents who had children with Down’s syndrome. At the time it was called the Scottish Down’s Syndrome Association but it later changed its name to Down’s Syndrome Scotland.  The organisation has grown in size and now has 25 members of staff based across the country. Their aim is to provide the best support possible for people with Down’s syndrome and their families all through life.

The charity runs projects for both children and adults with Down’s syndrome across Scotland and has eight branches providing clubs and activities in local communities. Since the beginning the charity has maintained a clear set of goals…
  • To ensure that children and adults with Ds (and their parents and families) receive appropriate support throughout all stages of their lives.
  • To promote positive and inclusive attitudes towards Ds, both among professionals and the general public.
  • To ensure that children and adults with Ds have choices that support and enable them to develop and reach their full social, physical and intellectual potential.
 
Services available through Down’s Syndrome Scotland
The main services Down’s Syndrome Scotland provides are ……
  • Family support service
This is the charity’s biggest focus whereby a team of trained staff provide support and information to families.  It has been a great help to many families as they are able to rely on help from birth until school, all the way into adulthood where they can provide advice and resources to assist living independently.
 
“You gave me a lot to think about and also a lot of hope…something I think I had lost!”- a parent of an adult with Down’s syndrome, Renfrewshire.

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  • ABC groups
This is aimed at achieving better communication for children with Ds who have delays in their speech.  The groups focus on Ds specific speech issues which means integrating muscle work with speech therapy.  The group has been a real success and the charity has seen incredible results - speech improves massively and gives children the confidence to communicate on their own without relying on their parents, family and carers. 
 
“Since my son has started at the ABC group I have noticed a significant improvement in his confidence in communicating with others” – mother of child who attends ABC groups. 

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  •  Friends connect 
Facilitated by volunteers this project is aimed at helping adults with Ds to make friendships and get out and about in their community.  It pairs adults with similar interests and allows them to meet, together with a volunteer, every couple of weeks to do something they enjoy such as going to the cinema, attending concerts or sports events. It’s all about building confidence and friendships.

“Julie has more confidence as it gives her something to look forward to. Julie gets on very well with her volunteer”- parent of Friends Group Member.

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How can families find out more about the charity?
All maternity wards in Scotland have new baby packs containing information on the charity but you can also find out more about the charity through their website, Facebook page and Twitter.  Alternatively you can email info@dsscotland.org.uk.
 

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