- Down Syndrome Centre
Down Syndrome Centre is a registered Irish charity that was set up in 2002 by parents of children with Down syndrome. The aim of the charity is to establish Ireland’s first centre to provide a range of dedicated services - medical, developmental and educational - which meet the specific needs of people with Down syndrome throughout their lifetime. In the years since start up, the charity has been busy building funds for the purposes of acquiring land and covering building costs for the centre but the search for a site within the environs of Dublin has been thwarted by a lack of affordable land and over inflated land prices.
While Down Syndrome Centre continues to search for a suitable site, they have been begun to provide a range of outreach services that they believe will assist people with Down syndrome and their families as follows:
- Development of  www.downsyndromecentre.ie, a magazine type website which records news and information relating to Down syndrome. The website has national and international traffic of over 6,500 hits monthly and has been very well received. Early Interventionist, Ann Haig Wheeler and Speech and Language Therapist, Marinet Van Vuren contribute weekly to the advisors panel.
- The charity, working in conjunction with the National Children’s Hospital, in Tallaght have recruited Ireland’s first Down Syndrome Liaison nurse who will provide advice, guidance and information to parents of newly born children with Down syndrome in Dublin maternity hospitals. They hope that this pilot project will be a great success and one which will be replicated throughout Ireland. The nurse tries to ensure a positive and supportive start to the life of each new baby born with Down syndrome.
- The Down Syndrome Centre Seminars series began in June with “Promoting the Early Development of Children with Intellectual Disability”, delivered by Early Intervention expert, Ann Haig Wheeler. Ann worked in Ireland for over 10 years before returning to live in the US. As well as being a recognised professional, who offers practical methods for achieving successful intervention, she is also the mother of a 10 year old daughter, Allie, who has Down syndrome and Autism.
The charity holds a number of fundraising events during the year, which includes Golf Classics, "The Strawberry Ball", "Laughternoon", their Christmas lunch and most recently "Buy My Dress" – a sale of over 1000 used high street and designer dresses that have been donated by Irish women.
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