Find a Support Group

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.

MDSC Affiliates

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.

For more information visit the Massachusetts D.A.D.S. website.

Down Syndrome Autism Connection

Jeanne Doherty and Charlotte Gray Award
Jeanne Doherty and Charlotte Gray of the Down Syndrome-Autism Connection

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!

You can contact the DSAC by emailing or visit the DSAC Facebook page.

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

2024 MDSC Support Group Leader Retreat
2024 Support Group Leader Retreat, Burlington, MA

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.