We believe in a holistic approach to the care of individuals with Down syndrome. Our clinical evaluations consist of one and a half hours comprehensive assessment with a team of physicians, pediatric occupational therapists or adult physical therapists, and family support specialists. During the assessment, families receive referrals to specialists who have an interest in meeting the needs of individuals with Down syndrome. Our providers also collaborate with primary care physicians and other providers to ensure a positive continuum of care.
Keeping up with the latest medical and educational advancements can be challenging. At the center, we provide families with a variety of educational opportunities. We have a lending library of books, periodicals, and videos. We also offer trainings on different topics such as inclusion and financial planning. We meet with families to review Individual Education Plans and attend IEP meetings. The center also offers training to pediatric and family medicine residents, therapist, nurses, and educational providers in order increase awareness and support for individuals with Down syndrome.
The EPDSC understands the complex needs of the family, and aims to provide support and resources to assist families in their journey. We support new families through our New & Expecting Parents Program and by providing connections to families that have similar medical or educational needs. We provide networking opportunities through annual social events and gatherings. We assist families in locating medical, educational, and recreational or social services in their area.
History of the Center
Our Center began in 1995 as concept created by several local families in order to gain access to specialized care and coordinate medical services for individuals with Down syndrome. With the assistance of The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, the concept became a reality and on March 15th, 1999 the Eastern PA Down Syndrome Center held its grand opening. On April 15th, 1999 the Center completed its first medical evaluation with the support of the first EPDSC staff including our Medical Director Dr. Donald Levick and clinical coordinators Anne Marie Dolinish-Meltzer and Patti Mertz. Over the last 22 years, the EPDSC has served hundreds of families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. In 2010, EPDSC spearheaded the Career & Independent Living & Learning Studies (CILLS) program. In partnership with East Stroudsburg University, this is the first program in Pennsylvania at a state university to include both academics and housing for individuals with intellectual disabilities. EPDSC was also responsible for financially supporting CILLS for the first three years. CILLS had 30 students enrolled in the 2017-2018 academic year.
After the launch of CILLS, EPDSC formed The Housing Initiative (THI) committee. THI works to establish a Creative Living Option (CLO) for individuals with intellectual disabilities. After years of development, this will be an apartment complex with 49 units where 20-25% will be dedicated to residents with intellectual disabilities and 75-80% occupied by typically- developing individuals aged 55+. Upon completion, it will be the first CLO in the Lehigh Valley to include residents with and without disabilities.
Who we are
The Eastern Pennsylvania Down Syndrome Center is a non-profit 501C(3) organization that supports inclusive initiatives for individuals with Down syndrome, performs medical evaluations for children and adults, and sponsors educational and social events for families and members of the community.