Mental Wellness for People with Down Syndrome and their Families

The Mental Wellness service is for people of all ages with Down syndrome who are experiencing mental health concerns. Children, adolescents, and adults with DS are more prone to developing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder than the typically-developing population. Possible symptoms of mental health issues in individuals with Down syndrome include:

  • Loss of energy or interest in previously motivating activities
  • Excessive or increased irritability
  • Frequent low mood
  • Complaining of headaches or stomach aches without medical cause
  • School refusal behaviour
  • Refusal to speak in specific settings or around certain people
  • Crying or clinging behaviour when separating from a parent
  • Excessive or increased rigidity or over-adherence to routines

This service is also available for family members experiencing mental health issues related to their experience parenting a child with Down syndrome, including grief, anxiety, or depression. Parents seeking strategies to improve their relationship with their child or increase parenting confidence could also benefit from this.

Therapy begins with an assessment of current mental health issues (input from all involved family members) 

Therapy for the person with Down syndrome may include the following:

  • Emotions education 
  • Activity scheduling and self-care 
  • Unhelpful vs helpful thoughts and behaviours
  • Relaxation techniques/mindfulness
  • Self-esteem training
  • Training in solving problems independently

Therapy for parents may include the following:

  • Activity scheduling and self-care 
  • Unhelpful vs helpful thoughts and behaviours
  • Relaxation techniques/mindfulness
  • Training in positive behaviour support strategies for use with the child with Down syndrome
  • Strategies for improving the overall quality of the parent-child relationship
  • Strategies to improve the couple relationship

Please note that the service is tailored to the needs of each individual.

Mental Wellness is offered in weekly individual sessions for $140 per session.

Payment Policy

Families should inquire if a program offers financial assistance or if they qualify for funding (e.g. Variety, CKNW, At Home Program) at the time of registration. Financial assistance allocation is at the sole discretion of the DSRF. Families not part of a funding program (such as the Autism Funding Unit or the At Home Program) are required to pay the full fee of the session. Sessions are billed once monthly. Depending on the funding model, you will receive an invoice for any monies owing and/ or organizations will be billed directly. You must pay in order to ensure continuity of services.

Cancellation Policy

Non-emergency cancellations require 24 hours’ notice. Non-emergencies include vacations, preplanned medical appointments, family events, school events, parties, sports events, lack of childcare, or anything that is not designated as “emergency.” The session must be cancelled at least 24 hours before the appointment. Sessions that are not cancelled with 24 hours’ notice will be billed at the full rate.

Client Agreement: Group Programs

Tuition Fees

Families have the option to pay the full fee at time of registration or pay the first month fee and provide post-dated cheques or credit card information for a monthly payment schedule, as outlined on the payment information form. Program withdrawals for group yearly programs must be made by September 30th and are subject to one month’s fee and a $150 administration fee. After September 30th, program fees are non-refundable

Student Progress

Informal assessments are used to evaluate students’ progress.  This information, along with regular communication with parents, is used to set individual and group program goals.

For more information on policies of specific programs or for any questions please contact Eleanor Stewart at 604-444-3773 x111 or eleanor@dsrf.org.