The Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization impacts the lives of people with Down syndrome by raising awareness and advocating for high expectations and acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome. Since 1980, we have been helping people with Down syndrome to maximize their considerable potential and live full and meaningful lives. Our education, advocacy and support programs help families to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their children’s success. Whether you have a baby, a child in school, or an adult looking for activities, we are there for you with the most current information, constructive support, cutting-edge ideas, and all the hugs you may need. We are committed to helping every person with Down syndrome be included in their community. We are committed to helping you.  Please contact us with your questions and concerns..


The mission of the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization is to enhance the lives of children and adults with Down syndrome through education, advocacy and family support. 

Our Purpose is to:

  • Empower parents of children with Down syndrome, young and old, by providing up-to-date information and resources.
  • Pursue inclusion of individuals who have Down syndrome in all areas of life, so they embrace opportunities to contribute and be valued members of society.

  • Dispel myths, promote positive awareness, and emphasize abilities of people with Down syndrome to parents, educators, physicians, therapists, and the general public.

  • Advocate and defend the human and civil rights of persons with Down syndrome.

Our History

When Gail Marino found herself in a hospital room, surrounded by healthcare professionals telling her there was no need to keep her newborn baby Kim because she had Down syndrome, the young mother was appalled. She decided then and there that she would make sure that families in her position received all the support they needed to raise their children with Down syndrome. In 1980, Gail founded the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization and began building programs that improved education and advocated for people with Down syndrome. Gold Coast has grown into one of the leading Down syndrome affiliates in the country, recognized nationally and locally for our programming. Today Kim Marino has a job, is learning to play the piano and has traveled the world.  She has never been left behind.

Our Commitment to Inclusion

The Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization believes that all people with disabilities have the right to fully participate in all aspects of society, alongside other members of the community. This philosophy of inclusion extends to every area of life, including, but not limited to, housing, work, education, healthcare, relationships, and recreation. An inclusive society is one in which everyone belongs. The philosophy of inclusion goes beyond the idea of physical location and incorporates basic values and a belief system that promotes the participation, belonging and interaction among all members.

  • Inclusion in housing means that people with disabilities have a right to live in the community, in a house or apartment of their choice, in the neighborhood of their choice, and with whom they choose.
  • Inclusion in work means that people with disabilities have a right to a meaningful job of their choice, making competitive wages, and living up to their potential.
  • Inclusion in education means that people with disabilities have a right to attend their home school (or school of choice) in a general education classroom, with same-age peers, with the support and services necessary for their success.
  • Inclusion in healthcare means that people with disabilities are served by the medical personnel of their choice and are listened to and respected as experts on their own health.
  • Inclusion in relationships means that people with disabilities have friends, both with and without disabilities, and engage in reciprocal, fulfilling relationships, including marriage if they so choose.
  • Inclusion in recreation means that people with disabilities have access to community recreation activities of their interest and choosing, with supports available so they can actively participate.

Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization is a member of the following organizations

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