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Enhancing the Lives of People with Down Syndrome

Providing comprehensive, holistic, community-based care and services using a team approach.

About the Center

Teens

Our multi-disciplinary experts have served the health and psychosocial needs of thousands of teens and adults with Down syndrome since our nationally recognized Adult Down Syndrome Center opened in 1992. Started through a collaboration between the National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS) and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, the Adult Down Syndrome Center has grown from seeing patients two times per month in shared clinic space to seeing patients five days per week in a 6,500-square foot facility designed specifically with people with DS in mind.

As a comprehensive medical resource for teens and adults with Down syndrome, we provide patients with everything from holistic care and support to education and resources in a compassionate, welcoming environment. We also hold events, participate in community outreach and conduct research.

Philosophy

Our mission is to enhance the well-being of people with Down syndrome who are 12 and older by using a team approach to provide comprehensive, holistic, community-based health care services.

We believe that:

  • All individuals are worthy and deserving of comprehensive and compassionate health care.
  • Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
  • People with Down syndrome can and should be active participants in their healthcare. 
  • Research, education, and the dissemination of information are essential to improving healthcare and enhancing the health and well-being of people with Down syndrome.
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History of Research and Education at the Center


Brian Chicoine

"Documenting and sharing our knowledge is so important. First, families need it, so they can provide on-target care for their loved one with Down syndrome. Caregivers need it as well: I'm haunted by the vision of a primary care practitioner in a small town somewhere who is suddenly called on to care for his first patient with Down syndrome (I appreciate the challenge because more than 30 years ago I was that primary care provider in a small town treating his first adult with Down syndrome). We want to make it possible for that physician - and families everywhere - to access authoritative information and tools they need to provide good care. Changing the landscape for care nationally is within our reach - and research is what will allow us to tip those dominoes."

- Brian Chicoine, MD, Medical Director

 
 
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Started in 1992, the Adult Down Syndrome Center was the first and remains the largest clinic for adolescents and adults with Down syndrome. This experience has given the ADSC the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge about caring for individuals with DS. Sharing what we have learned has always been part of the mission. We have done that by presenting at conferences, teaching residents and medical students, writing articles and books, offering educational programming, developing patient education materials for people with Down syndrome, and more.

In 2015, these efforts were formalized and expanded through the launch of the Research and Education Initiative, which allows us to use this experience to lead patient-centered research and education focused on improving quality of life for and with people with DS. Recent and current projects include participating in a clinical trials network, contributing to healthcare guidelines for adults with DS, writing articles and books, and studying the use of videos featuring people with DS for health education.

Timeline


  • 2006
  • 2010
  • 2012
    The Center moved to a brand-new building behind Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. The space featured a home-like atmosphere with improved exam rooms, outdoor space, accommodations for consultations, meetings, and education programs.
  • 2013
    The Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Fitness Center hosted the first annual Fitness Fun for Everyone 5K Run/3K Walk. Each summer patients, families, community members, and Advocate associates participate in the event.
  • 2015
    The Research and Education Initiative was launched. Dr. Chicoine received a fellowship with the Russell Research Institute at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and dedicated weekly time to research.
  • 2015
    Thanks to generous donors, the Center opened a Healing Garden behind the building.
  • 2016
    Occupational therapy, including sensory evaluations, was added to the services offered at the Center. The Center's social skills groups also expanded.
  • 2018
    The Center was selected as one of four Center of Excellence Sites for the Down Syndrome Clinical Trials Network launched by LuMind IDSC Foundation.

View Our Resource Library

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our helpful websites, articles and educational materials.

View Resource Library

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