Down Syndrome WA (DSWA) was established in 1986 by a small group of families who had a baby or young child with Down syndrome and who were looking for mutual support and information.
We have grown into a state-wide organisation with almost 200 financial members and hundreds more within our network. Membership is not a prerequisite for receiving support and information, and we actually serve a state-wide population of over 1300 individuals with Down syndrome, their families and many others who work with and support them.
DSWA is governed by a Board, consisting largely of parents, who also have professional skills, including legal, financial and business expertise.
DSWA has successfully funded its operations for 30 years through membership fees, fundraising events, and grants to run specific projects. Successful projects can sometimes be continued through seeking sponsorship and with fundraising. Our staff is skilled at managing events, projects, grant outcomes and acquittals on time and within budget.
DSWA is highly regarded in the WA disability sector for its specialist expertise and its focus on developing community inclusion.
Organisational experience and achievements include:
- Sector leader in member engagement: 200 members and a distribution list of 500 from state-wide population of 1320
- Online support network with over 460 members
- Support and information for parents of new babies since 1986
- Telephone/email helpline
- Regional capacity building workshops for families
- Resource library
- DSWA website enabling 24/7 access to information: www.dsawa.asn.au
- People with Down syndrome involved in strategic planning
- Developmental playgroup for 0 – 5 years
- PD for teachers (won state award), childcare staff and support workers, using person-centred approach
- Education support to families and schools
- Aim High club for adults with Down syndrome 18+
- Robust systemic advocacy
- Representation at sector decision-making tables
- Active member of Down Syndrome Australia, our national peak body
- Partnering in Down syndrome research with Telethon Kids and other major institutes