COLUMBIA, SC — With 19 babies younger than 2 crowded into the living room, kitchen and dining room of Fatina Clark’s West Columbia home, the noise reverberates off the walls. It isn’t the sound of children, however. They contribute only an occasional squeal of excitement. It’s the moms making the commotion, talking one-on-one or in small groups. Like many large play groups for infants, this is really a mom support group. And more than most such groups, these moms need to share their experiences with each other. Each of the children in the group has Down syndrome. The moms at the play group spend equal time comparing notes on physicians, physical therapists, speech therapists and insurance plans. Most of the moms had never been around a Down syndrome child before they had one. Now they craved interacting with others facing the same challenges. The play group has helped her realize how many other parents had similar, often unfounded, fears. (Many Down syndrome children, for instance, are so outgoing they feel like everyone is their best friend.) The group first met nearly a year ago, forming relationships at physical therapy sessions or getting in touch through Family Connections of South Carolina, which provides support for families of children with special needs. Some met during last year’s Buddy Walk, a fundraising event for the National Down Syndrome Society. Now they all share photos and insights through social media.
If you have a Down syndrome child younger than 2 and would like to join the play group, email Fatina Clark at email@example.com.
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