Whether you’re a new or expectant parent, a family of color, father or grandparent of someone with Down syndrome, if you’re looking to connect with others in your shoes, MDSC and our dozens of local support group partners around the state can help.
BCARC Down Syndrome Family Group Chris Ferrari, 413-464-7262 X 11 Nancy Willey, 413-464-7262 X 13 Members of the group are families that have a child, or an adult child with Down Syndrome. Some of the families receive supports from Berkshire County Arc, and others are community members only served by the support group itself. The group was founded in 2006 and aims to support people by fundraising, educating, building natural supports and having fun. Facebook page
Brockton EI/BAMSI support group Susan Stratoti
508-326-9872 Monthly Tuesday evening meetings; both informal get-togethers as well as outside speakers; children welcome at the informal meetings.
The Meet-up! Sarah Rock
203-554-3619 A group for folks on the Cape who have kids with Ds and other genetic and developmental quirks to get together, share information, have play dates and dinners, make plans and more! Facebook page
Central MA Family Group Jessica Young
774-239-5992 Meets every other month on a Saturday morning; families with school-age children or a prenatal diagnosis; all family members welcome. Facebook page
North Central MA Families North Central families meet the first Saturday of the month from 10AM -Noon at the Seven Hills family Support Center. At times, this group meets in the community so please check put our webpage for locations. Kathy Black
21 FrienDS Kim Legendre 508-989-2706 A nonprofit family and support group started by parents with the same interests in mind. Meets monthly through play dates, familiy activities, seminars and informational meetings.
South Shore Area
Braintree Support Group Jeanne Zarrella
781-789-6035 Mom’s night out monthly; currently families have children 4-22.
South Shore Parents and Siblings of Adult Children with Special Needs Taffy Nothnagle
781-383-0895 Hosts periodic dinner meetings to offer support and sharing.
South Shore Play Group Cara & Mike McDonough
617-560-0028 The South Shore Play Group serves families whose child is 0–12.
Down Syndrome Resource Group of Western Mass. Jennifer Johnson Provides a variety of events for families with children of all ages. Website
Play Group for Families with Younger Children Anna O’Rourke
413-262-7008 The Down Syndrome Program Resource Group of Western MA invites families of younger children to come connect, share, learn and play. Meets every other month on a Saturday morning at Jericho in Holyoke. Facebook page
MDSC New Family Socials Sarah Cullen 781-221-0024 Meets every month on a Saturday morning; families with children up to age 4; all family members welcome.
T21 Travelers Network Facebook Group Public Facebook Page (PM this page to request access to private Facebook group) The T21 Travelers Network is a group of parents and caregivers of individuals with Down syndrome. They are an organic network (primarily in MA) that has expanded via word-of-mouth over the course of 10+ years. At their core they are a group of encouragers. They are a recharging station to sustain each of us individually, and all of us collectively, as we travel a long road with challenges unique to those who have a child with Down syndrome. Grandparents and expectant parents always welcome.
MDSC 5-12 Group Sarah Cullen
781-221-0024 For families whose child with Down syndrome is age 5-12; Quarterly activities/events.
Autism Spectrum Disorder/Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome-Autism Connection Charlotte Gray: 978-394-8416 Virtual support group the last Tuesday of every month at 8pm to network and share resources. Facebook page
Boston Children’s Hospital Speaker Series
Down Syndrome Program Angela Lombardo
857-218-4329 Monthly, educational talks that may be attended or viewed on-line. Website
Julia’s Way Ella Cullen Support group for breastfeeding, pumping, and expectant mothers of babies with Down syndrome the second Thursday of each month 7:30 – 8:30 PM EST. Website
Parents of Children with DS and Other Special Health Care Needs Jeanne Doherty 978-761-3950 Support group co-hosted with Boston Children’s Hospital Down Syndrome Program.
MDSC Mental Health Support Group Patti MacPhee
For parents and caregivers of teens and adults with Down syndrome and mental health challenges. Every other month meetings facilitated by Mary-Frances Garber, licensed genetic counselor. Workshops with guest speaker held 2-3 times per year. More about MDSC Mental Health resources | Facebook page
Mosaic Down syndrome
Mosaic Down Syndrome Support Group Sonya Cabral 617-308-7441 Support and information for families whose child has Mosaic Down syndrome. Facebook page
Familia Up Down Denise Ribeiro 508-615-7637 Host a variety of events for Portuguese-speaking families in the greater Worcester area and across MA Organizamos uma variedade de eventos para familias de lingua portuguesa na area da grande Worcester e em toda area de MA Website
Familias Latinas Unidas por el Sindrome de Down Patria Espinal
617-953-6589 Meets monthly on the first Saturday of the month; all family members welcome; currently mostly families who have a teen or an adult. Facebook page
Spanish Support Group for Families Whose Child is 10 or Younger Tatiana Salinas
781-365-9965 Meets monthly
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Down Syndrome Society
Global Down Syndrome Foundation 303-321-6277 Website
Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.)
Massachusetts D.A.D.S., an affiliate of MDSC, is an organization of fathers of children with Down syndrome. D.A.D.S.’s mission is to assist and support each other and their families through fellowship and action.
Members come together at monthly meetings to share insights, stories, and experiences that are unique to fathers of children with Down syndrome. They invite expert speakers to discuss medical, educational, financial, social and many other challenges that affect their children’s lives.
D.A.D.S. objectives are:
To create a network of fathers willing to develop a program based on the needs of the fathers themselves.
To enhance a father’s knowledge and provide resources for engaging with children and individuals with Down syndrome.
To enhance personal advocacy skills.
To heighten a family’s ability to cope with the unique challenges of raising a child with Down syndrome.
To provide a safe atmosphere of support where fathers can openly share.
The Down Syndrome-Autism Connection™ is the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to co-occurring Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder (DS-ASD) in the United States.
The Connection was founded in 2007 in Denver as a collaborative project by parents and professionals seeing a great need to reach out to families and individuals affected by DS-ASD. In 2011, they became their own non-profit organization. While they are headquartered in Colorado, they care deeply about your journey no matter where you live. In this age of accessible technology, they are able to support people from coast to coast, and even overseas. They are gathering a global community in support of those with DS-ASD.
Their mission is to provide education and support to individuals facing the unique challenges caused by co-occurring Down syndrome and autism.
Their goal is to ensure that families, teachers, and healthcare providers receive the education and support they need — with the ultimate goal being that children and adults with DS-ASD will receive the understanding, education, medical care and opportunities they so greatly deserve.
If you are a parent wondering if your child (or adult child) may be affected by autism spectrum disorder, they want you to know that you are not alone. If you are a professional wanting to learn more, they are here for you, too! Thank you for joining the DS-ASD community!
DSAC became an affiliate of the MDSC in 2011, falling under our 501(c)3 non-profit status. “By joining forces together, the MDSC and DSAC will ensure that all families who have children with the dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism feel welcome and have access to the resources and supports they need.” said Maureen Gallagher, Executive Director of the MDSC.
Support Group Leader Retreat
MDSC is committed to ensuring that families and individuals with Down syndrome have the local supports and resources they need. Since 2014, we have brought together dozens leaders in the Down syndrome community from across the state for a two-day Support Group Leader Retreat.
Over the weekend, Support Group and Play Group Leaders gather to share experiences and strategize how to advance our mutual goals of strengthening supports for people with the Down syndrome and their families whatever their location, background or life circumstances.