The National Association for Down Syndrome, or NADS, is an organization that was founded in 1960 by Kathryn McGee in Chicago, Illinois, to support people with Down syndrome and their families in improving their quality of life. Originally named the Mongoloid Developmental Council, NADS is one of the oldest organizations serving people with Down syndrome and their families in the United States. According to NADS, Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs in one in every seven hundred ninety-two people and that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. Members of NADS work to provide information, resources, and access to services and programs for families with Down syndrome, educate the public, address social policy issues and challenges, and facilitate advocacy efforts within the Down syndrome community. For over sixty years, NADS has helped support individuals born with Down syndrome, one of the most common genetic disorders, in the US to find acceptance, develop their capabilities, and work toward independence.

Smile Train is a non-profit organization that Brian Mullaney and Charles Wang founded in 1999 in New York City, New York, that provides resources and trains medical staff in over ninety countries to give free surgeries to children in need of cleft repair. Clefts are birth defects that affect one in 700 children all over the world. They occur when the roof of the mouth, or palate, the lip, or both have a gap or split, because the tissues and bones did not fuse properly during fetal development. Surgeons typically repair clefts within the first year of life because clefts can often cause problems with eating, speaking, breathing, and hearing. Beyond providing cleft surgeries, Smile Train also supports the needs of children with clefts with services such as speech therapy, dental care, and psychological and nutritional support. Smile Train helps provide better access to cleft surgery and care for thousands of children worldwide, which improves the quality of life for people born with the developmental condition.

Subscribe to Grace Rauch