NADS is the oldest organization in the country serving individuals with Down syndrome and their families. It was founded in Chicago in 1961 by parents who chose to go against medical advice and raised their children with Down syndrome at home. Their pioneering efforts have made it easier for later generations of individuals with Down syndrome to be accepted by their families and communities, to develop their capabilities, and to work towards independence.

Our Mission:

The National Association for Down Syndrome supports all persons with Down syndrome in achieving their full potential.

In fulfilling our mission, we will:

  • Provide families with Down syndrome members with information and resources to enable them to access and evaluate appropriate services.
  • Educate the public about Down syndrome.
  • Address social policy issues and challenges facing the Down syndrome community.
  • Facilitate and encourage active participation by self-advocates and families in the delivery of education, vocational, residential and other services for persons with Down syndrome.

Our Services:

  • Parent Support
  • Resource Referrals
  • Public Awareness
  • Self-Advocate Program
  • More Than Down Syndrome Retreats
  • Conferences & Seminars
  • Public Speakers for Schools, Medical Professionals, and Community Organizations 

The support we provide to families is at the core of our mission, but we do not have the staff or the resources to provide direct services outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. However, many of our other services are available to a wider community, including our conferences, our products and publications, our website, and the information about Down syndrome we provide. Our members can be found throughout the United States—and across the globe.

For more information on NADS programs, please contact us.