F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is the leading resource for information on Down syndrome in the greater Tampa Bay area. Please contact F.R.I.E.N.D.S with any media needs or questions. We would be happy to provide photography, quotes and/or stories.


Families, Respect, Inspire, Educate, Networking, Down syndrome, Special needs.

Address - 12704 Barrett Drive, Tampa, FL 33624

Phone - (813)245-2782

Email -


Media Tips

The power of language an individual’s quality of life is dependent on their ability to fully participate in community life. Words, and the way we communicate, profoundly influence acceptance and participation. Language can empower individuals or can reinforce unhelpful stereotypes. Communication to the public should be based on respect. To ensure your communication with and about people with a disability is positive and inclusive please take a moment to check that your copy is in line currently accepted terminology associated with the diagnosis.

Please use…

  • A baby with Down syndrome
  • She has Down syndrome
  • A person who has Down syndrome
  • Down syndrome is an intellectual disability
  • A condition or genetic condition
  • Common inappropriate language
  • A Down’s baby/person/child
  • A Downsie or Down’s
  • Suffers from or is a victim of Down syndrome
  • Retarded or mentally handicapped
  • Disease/illness/handicap or ‘the disabled’

In summary avoid using variations which place the disability before the person, this places the focus on the person and not the disability. Using person first language helps your audience remember they are reading or hearing about a person who has feelings, needs, and rights. “Disability is not something you are it’s something you have This slight but powerful language shift helps us view people with disabilities as capable and deserving of respect.

Please also refer to the ‘About Down Syndrome’ section of our website which dispels some of the myths about Down syndrome.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Offers:

  • personal support and information to families in the Tampa Bay area
  • including connecting families, community groups
  • professional development and Inservice trainings relating to Down
  • syndrome for hospitals, schools, and families.
  • Website and social media (Facebook, twitter, Instagram)
  • For media enquiries, please contact Ashley Odom, R.N. - FRIENDS PRESIDENT.



As professional communicators, educators, and human serviceproviders, you are in a unique position to shape the public image of people with Down syndrome. The words and images you use can create either a straightforward, positive view of people with Down syndrome or an insensitive portrayal that reinforces common myths and is a form of discrimination.  

The correct terminology to use is "a person with Down syndrome." You should refrain from saying a Down's person or she has Downs as this is inappropriate. Down's syndrome is inappropriate as well as the founder of the condition, John Langdon Down, did not himself have Down syndrome.

DO NOT FOCUS ON DISABILITY unless it is crucial to a story. Focus 
instead on issues that affect the quality of life for those same individuals, such as accessible transportation, housing, affordable health care, employment opportunities, and discrimination.

DO NOT PORTRAY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME AS SUPERHUMAN OR HEROES. Even though the public may admire super achievers, portraying people with Down syndrome as superstars raises false expectations that all people with Down syndrome should achieve this level.

DO NOT SENSATIONALIZE DOWN SYNDROME by saying afflicted with, crippled with, suffers from, victim of, and so on. Instead, say a person who has Down syndrome.

PUT PEOPLE FIRST, not their disability. Say woman with Down syndrome, children who have Down syndrome or people with Down syndrome. This puts the focus on the individual, not the particular functional limitation. Because of editorial pressures to be succinct, we know it may be difficult but ask you to be sensitive to using people first language.

EMPHASIZE ABILITIES, not limitations. For example, uses a wheelchair/braces, walks with crutches, rather than confined to a wheelchair, wheelchair-bound, differently abled, birth difference, or crippled. Similarly, do not use emotional descriptors such as unfortunate, pitiful, and so forth.        

SHOW PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME AS ACTIVE participants of society. Portraying persons with Down syndrome interacting with nondisabled people in social and work environments helps break down barriers and open lines of communications.


Producer Jen Greenstreet, of Just Like You Films Inc. and the Down Syndrome Guild of KC collaborated on this project to help explain the condition and provide suggestions on how to be supportive. You can view the film, read about the cast, list a screening, or download a discussion guide at the film website Order a copy of the DVD HERE.


Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the F.R.I.E.N.D.S.   Your skills, time and passion will help to improve the lives of many. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is dependent on dedicated volunteers to carry out our mission to provide programs and services to our members. Complete our online volunteer application here.


Organizational/Fundraising Volunteers

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is looking for individuals and businesses that are interested in impacting the mission of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.. If you or your organization have a certain skill or talent that you think we could benefit from, we want to hear about it!


Questions about volunteering? Please email for more information!


Email your pictures of your child with friends and actively participating in their community.



F.R.I.E.N.D.S. encourages our members to generate awareness and acceptance within our community by doing Random Acts of Kindness and leaving one of the cards below behind with a note on the back about your loved one with Down syndrome. Create a movement of kindness for one another and be sure to share your pictures on social media for others to see.



More ways to create a social media buzz!

Share 31 Facts About Down syndrome!

Donate $3.21 to F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Support F.R.I.E.N.D.S. EVERYDAY by being a volunteer!

Join D.A.D.S.!



F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is dependent on donations and fundraising to provide programs and services. It is through the generosity of many individuals and corporations that F.R.I.E.N.D.S. can provide quality programs and services for individuals with Down syndrome/special needs, and their families.  We need your help!

ONLINE, please click here

Please make checks payable and remit to:


12704 Barrett Drive, Tampa, FL 33624

Memorial & Honoree Bequests

A memorial or honoree bequest on behalf of a loved one can be a wonderful way to help support the vital programs and services provided by F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Please mail any donations to our mailing address with information on the individual you are donating on behalf of. All bequests will receive a letter with a tax receipt.

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