The Down Syndrome Association of NSW (DSANSW) was first established in 1980 by parents of young people with Down syndrome.

Two hundred parents attended the first public meeting. With committed financial assistance and moral support from Parramatta City Central Lions Club, a central office was set up in Parramatta to coordinate support and information services across NSW. Our strong association with the Parramatta Lions Club continues today and we are very appreciative of their generous and committed support.

Our first focus was new families at birth or diagnosis. Information kits and a video were produced and distributed through maternity hospitals. Our newsletter and library also grew in content and quality as more information became available.

In 1988, the DSANSW held its first statewide conference for families, following up with a program of seminars and workshops state-wide. 

By the 1990s, the children of many of the foundation members were entering adolescence and young adulthood so our focus extended to those areas. The Association's expertise and service provision continued to grow alongside the development of the members' children. 

By the year 2000, membership had grown to approximately 1300, enquiries received reached 5,000 and the hospital referral rate of newly diagnosed families was close to 100%.  

2000 also saw the 7th World Congress on Down Syndrome in Sydney, hosted by the DSANSW. The Congress attracted 750 delegates from around Australia and the world. The highlight was the participation of 100 adults with Down syndrome in a parallel program, providing a catalyst for the developing advocacy movement across NSW. 

Today Down Syndrome NSW continues to support: prospective parents who have received a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome; a greater number of children attending mainstream classes at school; a young adult movement that demands a voice for their generation and the children of 35 years ago now dealing with employment, accommodation and, in some cases, retirement.

DSANSW remains responsive to the needs of its members and thoroughly committed to our mission to help our community achieve their full potential.