Programs & Resources

Our goal is to reach every family in our area who has a child with Down syndrome and provide programs that are meaningful to all. 

We visit families in the hospital and provide whatever support they need.

Angels Among Us – Family Visits

We provide new parent tote bags to parents who give birth or adopt children with Down syndrome.

These bags include several books on raising a child with Down syndrome, resources, and some special gifts. Our new parent kits are valued around $100-125.

Babies with Down syndrome can have medical challenges, like heart defects, intestinal, respiratory problems, developmental delays, hearing/vision impairments. All of this is overwhelming to a new parent – and that is the time where we step in to help.

Our visits offer hope and empowerment and we let the family know we support them in the days and years ahead.

Educational Advocacy – Our goal is to give children with Down syndrome the most inclusive education possible so that they may grow up to fulfill their dreams and become self-advocates.

  • We provide payment for educational advocacy for families through Susan Marks & Advocates.

  • Families come to us when they are no longer able to rectify a school situation in which their child is not being fully included in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

Social Outreach – Annual Events – Our goal is to provide support across the lifespan and have people view Down syndrome with a new, more forward thinking perspective without the old limitations and stigmas.

  • Sharing Walks have been happening for more than 20 years and each year, the celebration focuses on community members who are making a difference, families who love their journeys (even during some tough times) and organizations committed to helping people with Down syndrome through their activities, funding and sponsorship.

  • We also host Christmas parties and celebrate World Down Syndrome Day at a special water tower lighting in downtown Gilbert.

  • We produce a monthly newsletter (in English and Spanish) with information, activities and resources helpful to our families.

  • We also make regular visits to Arizona State University (ASU) and the Mayo Clinic to have our self advocates with Down syndrome speak about their lives with Down syndrome.  These discussions have been described as ‘life changing’.

Recreation & Social Activities
Be sure to check out your local city’s Parks and Recreation websites for Therapeutic Recreation.
Chandler Parks & Recreation offers social programs throughout the year and summer camps.  
Mesa Parks & Recreation has adaptive sports, recreation and social programs for youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. Similar programs can also be found in Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix and surrounding cities.
If you live in the West Valley, check out the Peoria Recreation Program and the City of Surprise Therapeutic Program

 

Flag Football – One of our Proud Parents, Lynn Ferron, volunteers with AZ Premier Flag Football in Mesa to offer Flag Football to kids ages 5-14 with special needs. Seasons start in the fall and winter typically on Friday evenings at 6 pm at Red Mountain Park. The cost to participate is $25, which includes a t-shirt.  Volunteers are always needed.  For more information, contact Lynn at ferrons1@yahoo.com.

Special Olympics Arizona has a variety of adapted recreation opportunities across the state.  To view their website, go to https://specialolympicsarizona.org.

Be sure to check out the South Gilbert Scorpions on Instagram and message them with questions about their sports activities.  South Gilbert Scorpions offers a variety of sports activities and are a part of Special Olympics.  Some activities they offer include cheerleading, swimming, basketball. 

A/R Inclusion offers many options for people with developmental disabilities.  From their webpage:  “Through social outings, events, health and wellness programs, we strive to unify the world to create a more inclusive society for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.” Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/arinclusion.

The Hip Hop Homies is a dance group that may have openings to be a part of a touring dance ensemble.  To learn more or to message the organization, go to their Facebook, Instagram or TikTok channels.  

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thehiphophomies.

Innovative Employment 

Please note:  Our organization, SDSA, hires people with Down syndrome and/or their caregivers, for special project based work, including speaking engagements at ASU and the Mayo Clinic, event or program assistance, administrative work and more.  Most of this paid work is done through grants and special donations. 

Finding employment for adults with Down syndrome may take many forms. One good place to start is with the HOPE group.

The HOPE group offers a program to help with finding employment for people who are neurodiverse. They have connections with neurodiverse employers and offer support through their very own employment specialists. They work very hard to help people in rural areas of Arizona, too.  To learn more, contact, hopegroupaz.com. 

In addition, parents can become paid caregivers of their own children with special needs.  You may wish to contact HOPE group about this, as well as All Aboard Services, which has been a loyal sponsor of our programs for many years.  All Aboard Services serves the East Valley.  To contact All Aboard Services, please visit www.allaboardaz.com.

You can see a complete list of providers for the state of Arizona by clicking below: 

https://des.az.gov/services/disabilities/developmental-disabilities/vendors-providers/current

Angels for Higher helps facilitate the hiring of individuals with Down syndrome to work as Greeters in fully inclusive environments at athletic venues, university campuses and performing arts centers. To learn more, visit angelsforhire.org or email Robert Hendershot at RobertH@angelsfh.org. 

Pathway To Work is a nonprofit with programs that prepare adults with disabilities for the working world.  Visit their website at azpathwaytowork.org or call them at 480-307-6295.  

ARIZONA AT WORK provides services, without cost, across 12 regional areas and 47 local workforce offices throughout the state. ARIZONA at WORK provides job seekers with a variety of services and resources to aid in the pursuit of employment opportunities such as skills development, job search and other related supports.

Click here to view their website:  https://arizonaatwork.com

For more information about general employment and employment services and opportunities for people with disabilities, be sure to visit this website: https://des.az.gov/services/disabilities/developmental-disabilities/community-resources/employment

Online classes and support for caregivers

Raising Special Kids offers may classes and webinars on topics such as behavior support, financial planning, IEP training, and much more.  Be sure to check out their website to learn about important classes and information sessions that may help you.  To visit their website, please go to https://raisingspecialkids.org. Follow them on social media and sign up for their newsletters.

Please also see our sections on Spanish Resources, Mental Health, and Guardianship under The Programs drop down menu for more specific topics.  

The list below includes Additional Resources on general help in our area.  Many states across the country offer similar services.   

Additional Resources

Arizona Early Intervention Program (under 3)

After you become the parent of a child with Down syndrome, you may wonder, ‘What do I do first?’

A good place to start is with the AzEIP. You can call them at 602-635-9799. 

This program is under the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities Program. AzIEP covers all children who have disabilities from birth to 2 years and 10.5 months of age. By law, this program is here to help you obtain therapies for your child, including Speech, Occupational and Physical. These are home-based services.

 

Please note: For Children Over 3:
Contact the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)
Phone: (602) 246-0546 

 

 

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)
Provider List
Social Security Disability Information
Educational Advocates
Legal Assistance
National Down Syndrome Congress
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation
TASH (The Association for the Severely Handicapped)
Food Banks
Multiple Services, including emergency shelter
Reece's Rainbow - International Adoption for Down Syndrome
National Down Syndrome Adoption Network

We Need Your Support!

Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and all contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. EIN: 86-0822557. Our Arizona State Tax Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO) Code is: 20543