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Canadian Down Syndrome Society

We are the voice for Canadians with Down syndrome. With the support of their family, friends, and all Canadians - all people with Down syndrome can live AMAZING lives.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Hello everyone.

My name is Paul Sawka and I have Down syndrome.

I am the Awareness Leader and I have worked here at CDSS for four years. I have accomplished many great things with your support. Thank you!

A couple of years ago, I had the honour of speaking as the endnote presenter at the Canadian Down Syndrome Conference.

My favorite part of the conference was being with my coworkers and my friends who heard me speak.

In April, I graduated from Columbia College and I am very proud to have completed it.  Columbia College helped me learn how to get a job.

I was the Valedictorian Speaker!  I worked very hard on the speech, it was 3 pages long.  I felt very proud to give my speech to everyone who came to hear it.

Thank you so much for supporting me and my friends so that we can graduate from college and get great jobs like I have now.

It felt very good to graduate from Columbia College and I want you to know that people with Down syndrome can reach their dreams.

I could not have achieved these things without my friends and family.

Thank you

Paul Sawka

PS- I write a blog about Down syndrome and my life http://cdss.ca/blog/category/pauls-blog/ Please visit!

Our Impact

What We Do

The Down syndrome community in Canada is a wide network of parents, families, doctors, teachers, employers, and self-advocates (adults with Down syndrome).

Our job is to bring this community together so that these groups can learn from each other. Parents can learn from doctors, employers can learn from families, and EVERYONE can learn from self-advocates.

Bringing together the distinct and unique voices of all Canadians who love, teach, support, employ, and care for a person with Down syndrome is what we do.

This gathering of voices starts with providing new or expectant parents with a welcome package and the book, 21 Welcomes.  This is the flagship resource that launches parents on their journey to raising a child who will be a thriving member in a society that is fully inclusive.

We follow up this package with a lifetime of support through answering questions, providing other resources, and building a supportive community for the family and self-advocate.  Whether it is providing a teenager with Mind and Body: Answers to Your Questions, giving a young teacher a copy of the Educator Package, or inviting employers to participate in the National Inclusive Employment Initiative, your support helps ensure our vision that all people are valued, fully participating citizens.

Our Programs

How We Do It

  • Info-line (1-800-883-5608, info@cdss.ca). We answer about 2000 information requests every year! It is important that we are there for new parents, teachers, employers, medical professionals and many others
  • The Canadian Down Syndrome Conference is hosted by a different Canadian city each year in May and provides the very latest in Down syndrome from experts in the field. The 30th annual conference will take place in Banff May 19-21 2017. There will be a lot to celebrate!
  • 21 Welcomes is a book that welcomes new parents. It prepares them for what they can expect in raising a child with Down syndrome, and inspires them with 21 wonderful stories from parents, grandparents, siblings and people with Down syndrome from all over Canada.
  • Down Syndrome Answers is a collection of short videos where the most qualified experts – people with Down syndrome – answer the most commonly asked questions about Down syndome. Have a look here http://cdss.ca/down-syndrome-answers/ to see ten people with Down syndrome answer everything from “What is Down syndrome?” to “Can a person with Down syndrome get married?”
  • The Educator Package is the go-to resource for anybody responsible for the education of a student with Down syndrome (or any developmental disability) in an inclusive classroom.
  • Mind and Body: Answers to Your Questions is a workbook for teens and self-advocates. It is written in plain language and is designed for readers to work through at their own pace and according to their own needs. It provides the tools for people with developmental disabilities to be safe, healthy and fully participate in society.
  • Voices At The Table Advocacy (VATTA) is a national steering committee that is made up of 10 young leaders with Down syndrome from across Canada. They provide the leadership and guidance that CDSS needs in order to be an effective organization.
  • The Affiliate Council is 12 local organizations that help lead and guide our decisions to be an effective voice for Down syndrome in Canada

Our Requests

What You Can Do

You can help the Canadian Down Syndrome Society by:

  • Learning more about people with Down syndrome and let all Canadians SEE THE ABILITY
  • Employing a person with Down syndrome
  • Sharing a resource with a teacher

Stay Connected


Jenny Morrow

Canadian Down Syndrome Society


Charitable Number: 118830751RR0001

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Annual Operating Budget: