The Right Start Foundation and Down Syndrome NSW bring support services to region
With dozens of families supporting a loved one with Down syndrome across the region, the value of support services is immeasurable.
Bargo’s Tania Batten and son Josh, who has Down syndrome, said the value of The Right Start family support group was invaluable.
“It’s about knowing where to start,” Ms Batten said.
“It’s a group of people of all different ages where you can talk about things that people have either done or know about. Our kids all want to do what everyone else is doing and they can, you just adjust.
“When you first get the diagnosis, it’s all very overwhelming.
“It’s really hard picking up the phone that first time when you are still coming to grips with the news.
“You still have this beautiful child but you can feel like you have done something wrong, but you haven’t.
“(The Right Start family support group) is always open, there is support out there.”
The Right Start project co-ordinator Christine Wilesmith, who assists 23 families, said the support group is a crucial service for many local families.
“A sense of social isolation is reduced significantly by being able to connect with others in similar circumstances,” Ms Wilesmith said.
“This group provides opportunities for adults to relax and meet with others, form friendships and develop informal support networks.”
For children with down syndrome, the monthly support group provides the opportunity to develop gross motor skills, increase social skills, enhance communication and have fun.
Disability experts will provide guidance for carers of a family member with any disability at a free Healthy Me, Healthy YOU conference, at 8.30am at Picton on Friday.
The conference is sponsored by Down syndrome NSW and the Right Start Foundation, in partnership with Community Links Wollondilly.
The annual ‘Step UP! for Down syndrome’ event will take place at Picton Botanic Gardens on September 16 from 10am.
To register for the Healthy Me, Healthy YOU conference, visit downsyndromensw.org.au or call 9841 4444.