First Down Syndrome clinic opens in Arizona

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- It's a move that has several families cheering across the state.

Thursday the Phoenix Children's Hospital opened the first and only Down Syndrome clinic in Arizona.

The clinic was a long time coming, four years in the making, and will be housed at the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

And this project was spearheaded not only by doctors but families too.
“Don't mess with a mom on a mission,” said Lynda Crystal, mother to 5-year-old Colten, a child with Down Syndrome. “He was born with a thyroid condition and heart condition.”

He, like so many of these kids with Down Syndrome, has a lot of medical needs and lot of specialists to keep track of, but soon they will all be under one roof.

Thanks in part to Crystal’s hard work at Phoenix Children's hospital. She never gave up knocking on doors and coordinating funding and physicians.

“This clinic will help so many families, not just our own. It will even help the babies that aren't even born yet,” said Crystal.

Last year 160 babies were born in Arizona with Down Syndrome and more than 900 children with Down Syndrome are treated at Phoenix Children’s.

Dr. David Adelson is the director of the Barrow Neurological Center at Phoenix Children's and said the new clinic will be a great help.

“Down Syndrome in and of itself does require a multi disciplinary approach and we didn't have that here in Arizona. But now this clinic exists, so that kids really have that 360 degree care circle,” said Dr. Adelson.

That is so important to 8-month-old bay girl Riley.

“She actually ended up having three heart surgeries in 23 days,” said Josie White, Riley’s mom.

Thankfully Riley is a fighter, and today she and other children like her are celebrated.

“A true celebration of World Down Syndrome day with the opening of this clinic the first in Arizona, it's just fabulous,” said Dr. Adelson.

The clinic will be open three days a month and not only offer medical care but all kinds of moral support, referrals and research.

The clinic will see its first patients next week.