A white baby boy with Down syndrome with red hair looking at the camera and smiling.

Infant & Toddler Development Series

Starts March 14th, 2024!

A virtual series with information and resources to answer your questions about the 1st year of development for children with Down syndrome. Each week, you will learn from professionals in speech & language, sensory, physical therapy, oral motor & feeding, fine motor development, physical therapy, behavior/social, and vision and hearing. This program is available to any member of VDSA!

For more information, contact Nikida Cromartie-James at ncromartiejames@virginiadsa.org.

Learning Program

Registration for the 24/25 series will begin this Summer!

The 12th year of the Learning Program kicks off in October 2024.

Contact Sherry Klauer at sklauer@virginiadsa.org for more information.

The Learning Program is an educational program developed by the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County (DSFOC). It serves as a platform for sharing literacy and math instructional strategies, resources and activities to improve academic outcomes for students with Down syndrome, equipping families with the knowledge and tools to work effectively at home and at school. Visit our calendar to learn more.

There will be a total of 8 sessions held on Saturdays between October 2024 and June 2025. All sessions will have an in-person and virtual option (June is all virtual). 

During each session, parents will receive instruction in a separate parent only class.  Children will receive hands-on learning in a student class with centers that focus on literacy and math led by qualified teachers and an occupational therapist. Volunteers will also be on-site to maintain a low adult to student ratio. All in-person classes will be held at the Shady Grove YMCA, Glen Allen, VA. For the virtual option, parent-only instruction will be provided through Zoom (no student learning through Zoom).  All sessions will run approximately from 9 am-11 am.

A preschool aged white girl with Down syndrome with brown hair standing in the grass, twirling in her dress with a coral skirt.

What level might be best for your child?

  • LP Level 1 (recommended ages PreK-1st grade or emerging readers)
  • LP Level 2 (recommended ages 2nd-3rd grade)

Parent classes are taught by a local parent of a young adult with Down syndrome using the Learning Program curriculum. Watch this sample video for a snapshot of what is covered in the parent learning classes - ABCs of Effective Reading Instruction. The in-person student classes are like the learning in this Learning Program video here!

Cost: The cost of the program is $260 (in person), $160 (virtual) (Scholarships Available).  The cost covers:

  • 8 parent learning sessions (Oct-June)
  • 8 child learning sessions (Oct-Jun, for in-person program only)
  • Student reading books for Fall and Spring
  • Resources related to literacy, math and more
  • Access to the LP Online resources
  • Access to a private LP Online Facebook page
A young Black man with Down syndrome wearing glasses and a jacket, standing in front of a display of roses, smiling and looking at the camera.

Transition Boot Camp

For parents of children with Down syndrome ages 13 to 21.

Transition Boot Camp is for parents of children with Down syndrome ages 13 to 21. A series of sessions are designed to give parents the tools they need to get the most out of the middle and high school secondary transition process required by IDEA. A corresponding Teen Class will be designed from the I’m Determined curriculum to practice self-determination skills all in a fun learning environment!

If you are interested, please contact Sherry at Sklauer@virginiadsa.org.

Webinars/Conferences

Learn  from professionals

We offer a variety of opportunities for parents to learn directly from professionals on different topics about raising and supporting a child and adult with Down syndrome. Educational speaker topics are offered in-person and through webinars throughout the year. Check the calendar for upcoming opportunities.

In 2022, VDSA partnered with the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia and the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads to offer the first Virginia Down Syndrome speaker series. The in-person conference will return in 2025!

A white woman kneeling behind her white toddler daughter with Down syndrome, holding her by her hips, smiling.

Parent Chats

Parent connections are very important, and we offer several chats for you to get connected to other parents on a variety of topics such as inclusion and feeding. Other support groups bring together parents and caregivers with similar journeys such as siblings of adults, dual diagnosis (DS Plus), grandparents and Spanish-speaking families.

IEP Support

We know how important the Individualized Education Program (IEP) is to your child and their education.  We also know that the IEP process can be very overwhelming and full of unfamiliar rules and terms. We are here to help and offer IEP reviews for any family of a child with Down syndrome. Our team gives perspective unique to educating a child with Down syndrome. We will also, if needed, refer you to other resources such as the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC), Medical Home Plus, educational advocates and consultants and special education lawyers.

A young white girl with Down syndrome with blonde hair in pigtails wearing glasses and a dress with ABC on the front smiling at the camera.

Join Us!

What we do is only possible with the help of people just like you.