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Valuable Resources for Down Syndrome

Local Organizations
National Organizations
Local Camps & Recreational Activities
Medical Resources
Legal & Financial Resources
Special Education Resources

Local Organizations

The Arc of Tennessee
The Arc of Tennessee is a grassroots, non-profit, statewide organization on intellectual and developmental disabilities.
615-248-5878 | website

Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS)
TEIS is a state agency that helps families find the easiest way to make sure their child gets the early intervention services that are needed to grow and develop to the best of his or her ability.
1-800-852-7157 | website

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center mission is to improve the quality of life of persons with disorders caused by the disruption of typical development. VKC supports and apply scientific research to bring better services and training to the community. The center includes a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders, and a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities training program.
615-936-5118 | website | Stress Study Flyer

Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
For more information about area organizations, visit the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's Disability Pathfinder. Pathfinder has phone, web and print resources in English and Spanish to connect the Tennessee disability community with service providers.
1-800-640-INFO | website

Support Groups

TN Council on Developmental Disabilities
The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is a state office that promotes public policies to increase and support the inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities in their communities.
615-532-6615 | website


National Organizations

National Down Syndrome Society
The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through national leadership in education, research and advocacy
1-800-221-4602 | website | website en español

National Down Syndrome Congress
The National Down Syndrome Congress provides information, resources, support, and education, as well as teaching advocacy and networking opportunities.
1-800-232-NDSC | website

Local Camps & Recreational Activities

Nashville Metro Parks and Recreation, Disability Day Program
Throughout the year, Metro Parks and Recreation offers an adult day program and also organize monthly weekend activities for all ages.  During the summer months, they program for adults and youth through summer day camps. These summer camps utilize peer groups to partner with our campers each day.
615-862-8479 | website

The Center for Courageous Kids
The Center for Courageous Kids, also known as CCK, is a world class medical camp located in Scottsville, KY, serving children and families from across the country who are living with a variety of medical challenges.
270-618-2900 | website |

The Camp Koinonia
Is a week long residential outdoor education program for up to 150 children ages 7-21 who have a variety of  disabilities, from East Tennessee. The program is organized, planned, and conducted by 150 University of Tennessee students as part of a course requirement.
865-974-4363 | website

Camp Barnabas
This two-week, Christian camp n Memphis serves children to young adults (ages 7-25) with intellectual disabilities and/or any autism spectrum disorder as part of their diagnosis. If your child thrives in smaller groups with less chaos and less noise, this program would work well for him/her. Campers in this program are ambulatory and able to tolerate outdoor activities as well.
417-737-7076 | website

Saddle Up! Nashville
The region’s oldest and largest recreational therapeutic riding program, and it is the only one exclusively serving children and youth with documented disabilities.  Saddle Up!’s mission is to provide children and youth with disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop through recreational activities with horses.
615-794-1150 | website

Friends Life
Friends Life is a certified 501(c)3 non-profit organization  dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. We seek to create opportunities to develop socially, grow personally and enjoy community as they experience life together. This day program is for adults age 18 and older and fosters life long learning, opportunities for work and service, and more.
615-730-9370 | website

Best Buddies Tennessee
Best Buddies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
615-891-2046 | website

Nashville Dolphins

Future Dolphins

Medical Resources

Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital
The Down Syndrome Clinic at Children's Hospital provides comprehensive care and professional services to children and adults with Down syndrome. The clinic staff and team work with families who are referred by their primary care provider, assisting patients in finding therapeutic services and educational/behavioral support and providing a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
1-866-900-3696 | website

Legal & Financial Resources

The Conservatorship Association of Tennessee is a non-profit organization of people who are concerned about the quality of services for adults who may need assistance in decision-making. Membership is open to individuals interested in improving the lives of Tennesseans who may need conservatorship and other protective services. CAT promotes a nationally recognized standard of excellence in conservatorship and guardianship through networking, continuing education, training, and other programs and services. CAT is an affiliate of the National Guardianship Association.

Financial Planning for Special Needs Families
Financial Planning can be an important part of planning for your child’s future. In order to protect your child’s eligibility for medical benefits, it may be important to establish a Special Needs Trust - an agreement written by an attorney, which describes how property held in a trust account may be distributed on behalf of the trust beneficiary who has special needs.


Understanding Special Needs Trusts and the Value of Corporate Trust Officers – from Exceptional Parent Magazine

Exceptional Parent Magazine offers a selection of articles on Financial Planning for your family with special needs.


Special Education Resources

Support and Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP)
STEP is a statewide family-to-family program in Tennessee that provides trainings and information on special education for parents and caregivers, free of charge. The purpose of STEP is to support families by providing free information, advocacy training, and support services to parents of children eligible to receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) who reside in Tennessee. STEP services are available to any parent or family member of a special education student or a student who may need special help in school (birth through age 22).
1-800-280-STEP | en español 1-800-975-2919 | website

Exceptional Parent Magazine
Exceptional Parent provides articles on a variety of special needs topics, including special education.

Volunteer Advocacy Project
The Volunteer Advocacy Project trains volunteer advocates to provide instrumental and affective support to parents of children with disabilities. In this training, participants learn more about special education law and advocacy strategies. Following the training, participants are matched with families in need of advocacy as they navigate the special education system. Trainings last 12 weeks and are held twice a year, contact Meghan Burke at or visit the project’s website for more information:

Blogs & Other Useful Links

Paula Kluth Special Education Blog
Promotes inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with disabilities.

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