First Call Network
Are you a new or expectant parent who has just received a Down syndrome diagnosis? Make DSAWM your first call!
The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan’s First Call Network is a program designed to connect new and expectant families with a Down syndrome diagnosis to trained Parent Mentors who offer compassionate support, information, and guidance.
DSAWM’s First Call Network makes connections based on:
- Geographic area
- Primary language
- Similar health issues
- Diagnosis story
- Ethnic background
When you are ready or if you would like more information, make DSAWM your first call.
Welcome New Parents
Congratulations! You probably have lots of questions. You may be grieving the loss of the baby you expected. You may be concerned or overwhelmed. These feelings are normal. The most important thing to remember is that a Down syndrome diagnosis is not as “life changing” as the fact that you have a new baby. Right now there may be a lot of emphasis on how your baby may be different and possible medical problems he or she may face, but try to take things one day at a time. You will soon find that children with Down syndrome are more alike than different from other children.
And Expectant Parents
Learning that your baby has Down syndrome is an overwhelming and emotional experience for most parents. You may initially feel confused, frightened, angry, saddened, and/or isolated. We have information, resources, and connections available that can help you make important decisions for your family.
You Are Not Alone
The DSAWM First Call Network offers…
- Accurate information about Down syndrome for expectant and new families
- The opportunity to talk with other parents about your concerns and questions
- A chance to meet other children with Down syndrome and their families
- Support groups for parents, including a network specifically for fathers and families of color
- Assistance locating helpful medical and early intervention services
- Referrals to local and national resources including books, websites and other helpful organizations
- Access to the DSAWM’s full range of resources, programs, and community events
The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan (DSAWM) was formed in 1985 and has since become one of the state’s leading resource and advocacy organizations promoting public awareness of and supporting lifelong opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome.
We aim to support all families in the West Michigan Down syndrome community through our values of inclusion, empowerment, education, community, and service.
Did You Know?
- There are more than 210,000 people with Down syndrome in the United States
- Down syndrome occurs in approximately 1 in every 700 live births
- Around 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to mothers under the age of 35
- Down syndrome affects people of all ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds
- Early intervention services help children with Down syndrome develop to their full potential
- People with Down syndrome go to college, have careers, learn to drive, vote, live independently, and get married
- People with Down syndrome really are “more alike” than different