Toowoomba & District Down Syndrome Support Group helps shape the lives of people with Down Syndrome

Tuesday 17th January 2017

Around one in 1,100 babies are born with Down Syndrome in Australia each year. Toowoomba and District Down Syndrome Support Group (TDDS) is one organisation helping to shape the lives of people with Down Syndrome.

Around one in 1,100 babies are born with Down Syndrome in Australia each year. Down Syndrome is a genetic condition where babies are born with an extra chromosome. While it is known how it occurs, it is not known why. People with Down Syndrome often have some characteristic physical features, some health and development challenges and some level of intellectual disability, the extent of which is unknown at birth.

Down Syndrome Australia says that what is known, is that while people born with Down Syndrome will have some level of intellectual disability, it is not the most important factor on how that person develops and lives their life. Rather, it is what happens after birth and family, environmental, cultural and social factors will shape their life, just like everyone else.

Toowoomba and District Down Syndrome Support Group (TDDS) is one organisation helping to shape the lives of people with Down Syndrome. Since 1989, the group has provided local people with Down Syndrome, and their families, with a support network. Today, over 80 families from the area come together to make connections and share experiences.  TDDS offers activities for people with Down Syndrome of all ages, from monthly playgroups for infants and toddlers to movement and music classes for babies, pre-school and primary school aged children, as well as meet-up groups for teenagers and young adults.

Aside from a very small annual membership contribution from families, TDDS is a non-funded group and is dependent on fundraising efforts to support most its activities. The group received an Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grant in 2016.

Kara Wren, the Group’s president says that the biggest gathering of the year is the annual 3-day visit to Camp Duckadang, held in March.

“The camp is a great opportunity for everyone to get together,” Kara says. “Because we support a large geographic area, we have many families that are unable to travel long distances to attended our regular group activities in Toowoomba. The camp is a bit more accessible for them as it is held over a longer period and they’re happy to get away for few fun-filled days,” Kara said.

The Camp is offered at no-cost to families and is supported in part by the Lions Group and through other fundraising.

“We don’t want cost to be a barrier for families to attend the camp,” Kara says. “This year, the Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grant will help to cover costs and ensure we can offer a program over the 3 days which promotes education, resilience and self-esteem amongst people with Down Syndrome and their families.

“We can’t wait to see everyone together again this year,” Kara said.

For more information

Toowoomba & District Down Syndrome Support Group

Down Syndrome Australia