The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
666 Broadway, 8th Floor
New York New York 10012
800-221-4602
info@ndss.org 

What is Advocacy?

"Nobody can do it alone. Having consumers, parents and other advocates working together with a key legislator or two is the only way to pass a bill. Legislators help with the process, and the stakeholders provide the passion."

- The Honorable State Representative Judy Ann Buffmire, Salt Lake City,
Utah State Legislature since 1992

Advocacy involves actions taken by concerned citizens to demonstrate their support for an issue.  In the case of Down syndrome advocacy, these issues are usually related to education, healthcare, research, employment, and transition.

It’s important that advocates for the Down syndrome community engage with federal, state and local government and make their voices heard. There are several ways NDSS supports these types of advocacy. Above anything else, the key to effective advocacy at any level of government is to build relationships with elected officials in order to educate and influence their viewpoints on critical issues and legislation facing the Down syndrome community. 

Federal Government

The United States Congress is the bicameral (two legislative chambers) legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, DC.

Both US Senators and Representatives, make up the US Congress, and are chosen through direct election. Each of the 435 members of the House of Representatives represents a federal district in a state and serve  two-year terms. House seats are apportioned among the states by population. In contrast, the 100 Senators serve six-year terms. Each state has two senators, regardless of population.

Do you know who represents you in the US Congress? Find out now.

State Government

At any given time, individual states may be faced with legislation that can positively or negatively impact people with Down syndrome. In the US, state legislature is a term referring to the legislative body of any of the country's 50 states. In 24 states, the legislature is simply called the Legislature, or the State Legislature. In 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature as the Legislative Assembly. Every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, which means the legislature consists of two separate chambers (or houses). In all bicameral legislatures, the smaller chamber is called the Senate and is usually referred to as the upper house.

NDSS supports its advocacy before state legislatures through its GAC program.

Find out more about your state legislature.

How Can I get Involved in Advocacy with NDSS?

NDSS offers several ways to get involved in federal and state advocacy:

  • Buddy Walk
  • NDSS Yourway
  • My Great Story
  • NDSS DS-Ambassadors