“Your child has Down syndrome.” This statement is the beginning of a new journey for your family, one you likely hadn’t planned on taking. You may have received a prenatal diagnosis after noninvasive prenatal testing or in vitro diagnostic testing. Perhaps you received the news after your little one was born. Whatever your diagnosis experience was, we’ve all shared many of the same emotions. We’ve all experienced a sense of sadness, anger, and even hopelessness as we came to understand what a Down syndrome diagnosis meant for our child, and our families. While we walked the very beginning of this new path we felt dazed and sometimes, lonely. As the days and weeks went by the shock began to wear off. We find ourselves with questions and looking to find families that have been down this path, those who have paved it in our own community. We’re ready to reach out to someone who knows. Someone who understands and can lift us up and shine a light on what ‘real life’ will be like for our little one with Down syndrome.
The DSAHR has created the First Call Program to provide support and medically accurate, up to date, balanced information to expectant and new families of a child with Down syndrome. We are an experienced group of parents of a child with Down syndrome. We are available to expectant and new families to offer support, connect families, offer assistance locating resources such as Early Intervention and medical services, and provide current information about Down syndrome.
We work with local hospitals and medical facilities to ensure that families with a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child have resources and information available to them. Once an expectant or new parent receives our information, and is ready to talk to someone, they contact the DSAHR First Call Program Coordinator and a parent volunteer will contact them by their preferred method of communication within 24 hours.
The DSAHR First Call Program individualizes parent connections for each family. Areas in which expectant and new families of a child with Down syndrome will be matched with a parent volunteer may include: Adoptive parents, Similar health issues, Ethnic backgrounds, Primary language, Pre/postnatal diagnosis. It is our highest priority to connect new families with a Down syndrome diagnosis for their child to families who have had similar experiences during the diagnosis and birth of their baby. It is in these connections that new friendships are forged.
When you are ready, please call 1.844.372.PFCP (7327) or email FirstCall@dsahr.org.
My wife was pregnant with our second son when we found out he had Down syndrome. Our worlds were rocked. We didn’t know who to turn to, and information that we had been given was outdated and made us feel like the future we saw for our little boy was now gone. Having correct, up to the minute information is critical to getting through those first few weeks after you learn your baby has an extra chromosome. Finding families who understood and helped us see what a bright future our child could have was invaluable. -New Parent (Virginia Beach, VA)
A growing family is always an occasion to be celebrated! On behalf of the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads, I would like to welcome you to our family and congratulate you on the newest addition to your family.
Kate Ward, First Call Program Coordinator
FirstCall@dsahr.org or 1.844.372.PFCP (7327)