This is a letter that was written by one of our new Board Members, Paul Thomas. Please read it. It was written by Paul to let you know that although the services and delivery systems have changed over the years, the needs of a child with Down syndrome have not, so it encourages you to get involved with this group so that you can learn from the wisdom of those who have gone before you.
Dear DSIG Families,
My name is Paul Thomas and I am a current DSIG Board Member. I am the father of three sons, Brian, Matt and John. My son John is 26 years old and has Down syndrome. I’d like to take a moment to speak with you about the history of services that have been received by the young people with Down syndrome who have come before you.
What do our children need?
When my son John was born 26 years ago, we received services 3 half days a week at United Cerebral Palsy “UCP” School in Swarthmore. This included Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and a teacher! This was a reduction in services from when the children who were older than John got 5 days of services. Over the years these services have been radically reduced while salaries and bonuses for administrators continue to rise. Although the delivery of care from a center based model back in 1989 has changed to a home based or natural environment model now, the needs of a child with Down syndrome haven’t changed! As parents it is our job to get our kids the services they need. In many instances that means a fight. It is well worth it! This is true for every age, but it is most critical in the early years.
Don’t automatically accept what you are told. This may sound cynical but the fact is that public sector agencies are rewarded for keeping costs down. The DSIG is a wonderful source of information. Get involved and pick the brains of those that went before you. We are happy to help you in any way we can. There is strength in numbers.
Also keep in mind that starting at the earliest age the socialization aspect of your child’s development is important. The DSIG provides many opportunities for getting together with other families, sharing friendship, information and a common cause.
DSIG Board Member