To empower individuals with Down syndrome and their families by driving policy change, providing resources, engaging with local communities, and shifting public perceptions.
To ensure all individuals with Down syndrome are assured their human rights and valued by a more inclusive society.
Founded in 1979, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) empowers individuals with Down syndrome and their families by driving policy change, providing resources, engaging with local communities, and shifting public perceptions. The organization’s work is achieved through three key areas of programming: Resources & Support, Policy & Advocacy, and Community Engagement.
Resources & Support
NDSS is committed to providing individuals with Down syndrome, their families, caregivers, and the public with information to support them from birth to end of life. Through events, videos, publications, and our website, NDSS provides free resources on a variety of topics including health, wellness, education, employment, adulthood and aging, financial wellness and information for new and expectant parents. Our Adult Summit conference addresses the needs of teens and adults with practical resources and educational opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome, families, caregivers, and professionals. Through our helpline and info email, our staff responds to questions and connects individuals with Down syndrome, family members, professionals, and others with referrals to our network of more than 300 local Down syndrome organizations.
Advocacy & Policy
NDSS advocates for federal, state, and local policies and regulations that positively impact people with Down syndrome across the country and affirm their human rights. Through grassroots advocacy, NDSS empowers community advocates to work with Congress and federal agencies, as well as state and local officials, to develop and improve policies and regulations for the benefit of the Down syndrome community. NDSS further empowers individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and other community members to influence policy at the NDSS Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. The NDSS legislative agenda spans the life of individuals with Down syndrome from birth to adulthood including healthcare, education, employment, and economic self-sufficiency.
NDSS community engagement events and activities celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome, raise awareness among the public, and connect individuals and families within the community. Through our scholarships, grants, and awards program, NDSS supports individuals with Down syndrome in pursuing their dreams. Since 1995, the National Buddy Walk® Program has promoted awareness and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and raised funds for local and national organizations that support the community. NDSS hosts awareness and engagement events throughout the country including our New York City Buddy Walk® and Times Square Video presentation, Racing for 3.21 on World Down Syndrome Day, Run for 3.21, gala and golf events, and more.
NDSS is a 501c3 organization. Our advocacy work is nonpartisan and we do not endorse any political party or candidate.
We are committed to ensuring all individuals with Down syndrome are respected in their schools, workplaces, and communities. That work begins within our organization. We strive to always act respectfully toward each other and toward our volunteers, partners, supporters, vendors, and community members.