MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The RGV Down Syndrome Association is a local non-profit creating more in-person networking opportunities for children with Down Syndrome and their families.

Parents like Rosa Contreras said resources like the association are strongly needed.

“It’s very important to be able to engage with other families that have children with down syndrome, the community is small and sometimes without these organizations you sometimes just don’t have the opportunity to meet other families that are going through the same things you are,” said Contreras.

Contreras said she understands the struggle of not knowing who to turn to for help.

When I had my child I didn’t know he had Down Syndrome. I had so many questions, where to go? You know it was hard,” she said.

According to Deborah Tomai, president of the RGV Down Syndrome Association, they are serving a total of 400 families throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Tomai said that number is expected to grow. 

“There’s been so many babies that have been born in the past 2 years and a lot of them, we haven’t met yet in person because everybody is being really careful,” said Tomai.

In addition to the association, Tomai said families who have children under the age of three are encouraged to turn to early childhood intervention services. 

“That’s the Easterseals Rio Grande Valley, and they sent therapists and case managers to your home to help you know how to help your child with speech, physical therapy, how to crawl or run or play,” said Tomai.

Tomai said the association will continue to support inclusion and Contreras wants parents to know they are not alone.