New to Middle TN

Welcome to Middle Tennessee!

The community of families who have children/adults with Down syndrome is very active and supportive here, so rest assured that you will have both access to the most up-to-date, accurate information and an incredibly supportive network.  DSAMT strives to be the “First Call” you will make for any information or resources about Down syndrome, and we look forward to meeting you and your family!  Please bookmark our Resources page for links to the below items and much more.

Frequently asked questions:

How do I become a DSAMT member?

DSAMT does not have membership fees. Just download the DSAMT app from Google Play or i0s store and register or Email tanya@somethingextra.org to get added to our list, so you have access to events & resources.
 

What are the best school districts and schools?

While DSAMT is unable to make recommendations on specific schools and districts, we can connect you to our network of parents who will gladly answer your questions.

DSAMT has both a parent mentor and parent advocate mentor program to support families with school, advocacy and other concerns.  Erin Richardson is our Advocacy & Policy Director who is available to assist as well.

DSAMT has a support group for homeschooling parents.
 

Are the schools inclusive?

IDEA is a federally-mandated program that ensures students with disabilities are educated in their Least Restrictive Environment to the maximum extent possible, with appropriate support, modifications and services. Of course, each school has its own strengths and weaknesses, and DSAMT supports families and schools to ensure students with Down syndrome are meaningfully included. We can also connect you to our parent mentors for feedback on specific school experiences, and, if needed, to an advocate.
 

What are the educational pathways/diploma options for those with Down syndrome?

Tennessee has 4 different diploma tracks; details can be found here.

Middle TN is fortunate to have several post-secondary options for individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities.  These include Next Steps at Vanderbilt University and IDEAL at David Lipscomb University.

DSAMT helped advocate for the passage of the Step Up Scholarship, which allows students to access state lottery scholarship funds to attend these programs, like all TN students are eligible for the HOPE lottery scholarship.  DSAMT also has the Meredith Brunner Scholarship to help offset cost of post-secondary education for those with Down syndrome.
 

Who are the best physicians, dentists and therapy providers?

While DSAMT is unable to make recommendations on specific providers, we can connect you to our network of parents who will gladly share their experiences.

TN is one of the few states that has a pediatric Down syndrome Clinic, where your child can see many types of providers who are experienced in treating those with Down syndrome.
 

What respite options are available?

Although highly trained respite resources are limited in Middle TN, there are multiple options available for families to take advantage of. Learn about these on our website at www.somethingextra.org/resources/respite.
 

What social services, Medicaid and financial support options are available?

TennCare is TN’s Medicaid program, providing healthcare to mostly low-income pregnant women, parents or caretakers of minors and children and individuals who are elderly or have a disability. To get TennCare one must meet certain financial limits.

Based upon age, work history, and medical conditions, you may be eligible for either: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The Tennessee Family Support Program assists individuals with severe disabilities and their families to remain together in their homes and communities.

The ECF CHOICES program launched in July 2016 with the goal of helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work and to live as independently as possible

The Katie Beckett Waiver program is for children under the age of 18 with disabilities or complex medical needs.  This program is for children who are not Medicaid eligible because of their parent’s income or assets.
 

What housing options are available for my adult child with Down syndrome?

DSAMT keeps a list of options available on our resource page under Housing.
 

How is the employment landscape in Middle TN for those with Down syndrome?

While research indicates only 33% of all Tennesseans with disabilities are currently employed, DSAMT is proud to report a growing number of those with Down syndrome are working every year.  Many advocate groups, including DSAMT, work tirelessly to ensure inclusion in the workforce for those who want employment.  We often hear of opportunities, and hope you'll reach out to alecia@somethingextra.org if looking for available openings.  Tennessee Works is a tremendous resource, as well.

What activities, day programs, social & educational opportunities are available for those with Down syndrome? 

Fortunately, Middle TN has an abundance of programs to support the social and recreational needs of individuals with Down syndrome. DSAMT offers many programs and events, which you can find here. Also Tennessee Disability Pathfinder is a great resource, which allows you to search by category of service and geography.
 

How do I connect with other parents?

DSAMT hosts groups in each of the 40 counties we serve, as well as more specific support groups based on age, diagnoses, etc. Simply register with DSAMT through our app or by emailing tanya@somethingextra.org, and we’ll connect you! We also hold about a dozen family events per year, so that caregivers can connect.
 

Do you recommend a realtor?

Yes!  In fact, we have a family who are realtors, Team 3-21 at Cumberland Real Estate.  Whitt and Callie Gammon donate 10% of every gross commission to DSAMT.  https://www.somethingextra.org/ways-to-help/team-3-21/