MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS ALLIANCE (MHWA)
A Pilot Program
One-third of all persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) have a psychiatric disorder that affects their daily functioning, combined with limited coping skills due to language difficulty and inadequate social supports (Nat. Assoc. of Developmental Disabilities 2018), which have only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. A vast majority of the children and adults with Down syndrome not only have various medical issues, but can also have a co-existing diagnosis consisting of autism, psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD, etc., which makes the need for mental health services even more critical; Many times, these co-occurring disorders can go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
The goal of the MHWA is to train and support the mental health community in serving those with IDD so that people with Down syndrome and other IDD can better access high quality mental health services. We provide training to mental health professionals in working with families with a child with Down syndrome, as well as the communication supports and training clinicians need to effectively serve this population, along with an array of treatment modalities.
In addition to the trainings,we offer referral to licensed therapy for people with Down syndrome and/or their families; Workshops for families on self-care, wellness, and mental healthcare; Support Groups & Group Therapy, including for siblings.
TOOLS AND SUPPORTS
We have developed anonline resource filled will samples of low-tech boards, visual supports and social stories to complement therapy sessions. Customized boards are available by contacting Marianne@dscba.org
This training covers the unique needs of individuals with Down syndrome and other I/DD and their families as it pertains to communication in psychotherapy sessions. Various visual supports and augmentative alternative communication (AAC) systems will be introduced along with strategies for implementation.
- Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (DSRF) - Canada
- Additional Podcasts/Articles from DSRF
- Adult Down Syndrome Clinic- Illinois
Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome - Dr. Brian Chicoine and Dr. Dennis McGuire - A PDF is now available
This program is supported by Ability Central, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, RiteAid Healthy Futures, The Rosendin Foundation, RBC Wealth Management and the Barr Family Foundation.
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