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For some parents, ACDS can begin to provide support and services when they receive a prenatal or early post natal diagnosis of Down syndrome or other genetic disability. ACDS has established connections with social workers and neonatal personnel at various hospitals across Long Island who are often the first referral source. In other circumstances observations of developmental delays characteristic of other disorders or disabilities, including those on the Autistic Spectrum continuum, might not be evident until a later stage of a child’s development. In either case receiving a diagnosis can be overwhelming and this time can be one of uncertainty and anxiety for many parents as they try to access information, guidance and reassurance. Medical complications can also warrant the need to navigate the health care system of specialists, further stressing the emotional well being of a family.

Social Workers from ACDS’ Family Service Department, who have expertise in assisting and caring for families of children with Down syndrome, other genetic disabilities, and children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, reach out to families and provide emotional support and intervention during the initial adjustment period following diagnosis or referral for Early Intervention Services. Parents are provided information related to Down syndrome, ASD, or other disorders and are guided through the referral process necessary to access educational and therapeutic services through the Department of Health’s Early Intervention Program.

Parents often benefit from connecting with other parents of infants or young children who have Down syndrome or the same disability as their child. Through ACDS’ Parent/Peer Outreach Program trained parent counselors can make hospital or home visits or establish connections at the center or via telephone. Parents, grandparents and siblings also have the opportunity to connect with other families through ongoing support groups facilitated by an ACDS social worker or through other parent outreach options. Social Workers are always available to assist families in advocating for their child with special needs while tending to the emotional security of the families with a sensitive, nurturing approach. When necessary, individual or family counseling and training can be offered.


Julie Laufer, LMSW
516-933-4700 ex. 178


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